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PRINTER'S NO. 358
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
339
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY DeLUCA, READSHAW, KORTZ, CALTAGIRONE, D. COSTA,
WARD AND ROZZI, FEBRUARY 6, 2017
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, FEBRUARY 6, 2017
AN ACT
Providing for the protection of patients and medical personnel
from health care facility retaliation, for prohibitions, for
rebuttable presumptions, for discriminatory treatment, for
evidence, for civil penalties and remedies, for criminal
penalty, for restitution and damages, for injunctive relief,
for peer review activity and for exemption.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Protection of
Patients and Medical Personnel from Health Care Facility
Retaliation Act.
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"County correctional institution." As defined in 61 Pa.C.S.
§ 102 (relating to definitions).
"Health care facility." As defined in section 802.1 of the
act of July 19, 1979 (P.L.130, No.48), known as the Health Care
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Facilities Act. The term includes, but is not limited to, the
facility's administrative personnel, employees, boards and
committees of the board and medical staff.
"Medical personnel." An employee, member of the medical
staff or another health care worker of a health care facility.
"State correctional institution." As defined in 61 Pa.C.S. §
102 (relating to definitions).
Section 3. Prohibitions.
(a) Health care facilities.--A health care facility may not
discriminate or retaliate against a patient or medical personnel
because the patient or medical personnel has done either of the
following:
(1) Presented a grievance, complaint or report to the
facility, to an entity or agency responsible for accrediting
or evaluating the facility, to the medical staff of the
facility or to another governmental entity.
(2) Initiated, participated or cooperated in an
investigation or administrative proceeding related to the
quality of care, services or conditions at the facility that
is carried out by an entity or agency responsible for
accrediting or evaluating the facility or its medical staff
or governmental entity.
(b) Entities.--An entity that owns or operates a health care
facility or another health care facility may not discriminate or
retaliate against a person because the person took action under
this act.
Section 4. Rebuttable presumption relating to patients.
A type of discriminatory treatment of a patient by whom, or
upon whose behalf, a grievance or complaint has been submitted
to a governmental entity or received by a health care facility
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administrator within 180 days of the filing of the grievance or
complaint shall raise a rebuttable presumption that the action
was taken by the health care facility in retaliation for the
filing of the grievance or complaint.
Section 5. Rebuttable presumption relating to medical
personnel.
There shall be a rebuttable presumption that discriminatory
action was taken by the health care facility, or by the entity
that owns or operates that health care facility, or that owns or
operates any other health care facility, in retaliation against
medical personnel if responsible staff at the facility or the
entity that owns or operates the facility:
(1) Had knowledge of the actions.
(2) Participated or cooperated with the medical
personnel responsible for acts described in section 3.
(3) Commits a discriminatory act within 120 days of the
filing of the grievance or complaint by the medical
personnel.
Section 6. Discriminatory treatment.
For purposes of this act, discriminatory treatment of medical
personnel includes, but is not limited to, discharge, demotion,
suspension or any unfavorable changes in, or breach of, the
terms or conditions of a contract, employment or privileges of
the medical personnel or the threat of any of the actions.
Section 7. Evidence.
The presumptions in sections 4 and 5 shall be presumptions
affecting the burden of producing evidence as provided in 42
Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to rules of evidence).
Section 8. Civil penalties and remedies.
(a) Secretary of Health.--Upon a determination by hearing
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that this act was violated, the Secretary of Health may pursue
one or more of the following courses of action:
(1) Issue an order requiring the person in violation to
cease and desist from engaging in the violation.
(2) Suspend or revoke or refuse to issue or renew the
certificate or license of the person in violation.
(3) Impose a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 for
each violation.
(4) Impose another appropriate remedy.
(b) Other remedies.--The enforcement remedies imposed under
this section are in addition to other remedies or penalties that
may be imposed by this or other applicable statute.
Section 9. Criminal penalty.
In addition to another penalty assessed under this or another
act, a person who willfully violates this section commits a
misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $20,000.
Section 10. Restitution and damages.
(a) Employee.--An employee who has been discriminated
against in employment under this act shall be entitled to:
(1) reinstatement, reimbursement for lost wages and work
benefits caused by the acts of the employer and the legal
costs associated with pursuing the case; or
(2) a remedy deemed warranted by a court of competent
jurisdiction.
(b) Health care worker.--A health care worker who has been
discriminated against under this act shall be entitled to:
(1) reimbursement for lost income and the legal costs
associated with pursuing the case; or
(2) a remedy deemed warranted by a court of competent
jurisdiction.
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(c) Medical staff.--A member of the medical staff who has
been discriminated against under this section shall be entitled
to reinstatement, reimbursement for lost income resulting from a
change in the terms or conditions of his privileges caused by
the acts of the health care facility or the entity that owns or
operates a health care facility or another health care facility
that is owned or operated by that entity, and the legal costs
associated with pursuing the case, or to a remedy deemed
warranted by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Section 11. Injunctive relief relating to peer review.
(a) Right to petition.--The medical staff of a health care
facility may petition a court for an injunction to protect a
peer review committee from being required to comply with
evidentiary demands on a pending peer review hearing from the
member of the medical staff who has filed an action under this
section, if the evidentiary demands from the complainant would
impede the peer review process or endanger the health and safety
of patients of the health care facility during the peer review
process.
(b) In-camera review.--Prior to granting an injunction, the
court shall conduct an in-camera review of the evidence sought
to be discovered to determine if a peer review hearing, as
authorized by law, would be impeded. If it is determined that
the peer review hearing will be impeded, the injunction shall be
granted until the peer review hearing is completed.
(c) Irreparable harm.--Nothing in this section shall be
construed to preclude the court, on motion of its own or by a
party, from issuing an injunction or other order under this act
in the interest of justice for the duration of the peer review
process to protect the person from irreparable harm.
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Section 12. Peer review activity.
This act may not be construed to limit the ability of the
medical staff to carry out its legitimate peer review activities
in accordance with 35 Pa.C.S. Ch. 81 (relating to emergency
medical services system) or other law.
Section 13. Exemption.
This act shall not apply to an inmate of a State correctional
institution or juvenile facility owned or operated by the State
or local government or to an inmate housed in a local detention
facility, including a county correctional institution or a
juvenile hall, juvenile camp or other juvenile detention
facility.
Section 14. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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