A Florida trial court order regarding the discovery of hospital incident reports is circulating in PSO circles. (Charles v. Southern Baptist Hosp. et al., Duyal County, Case No. 15-2012-CA-002677.) The order expresses a very restrictive view of PSWP (more below) and the hospital has expressed an intention to appeal the order. As a trial court order in Florida, it has no value as precedent in any other jurisdiction, even within Florida. However, the order will be part of the ongoing discussion about PSO protections, so CPS wants its stakeholders to understand it. The key facts:
- Florida has very specific requirements for hospital risk management, including staff licensure and submission of certain incident reports to the state. The statute also requires the hospital to gather information via incident reports that may not be reported to the state, but which is necessary to carry out the mandated activities.
- The discovery request specifically asked for reports prepared pursuant to parts of the statute.
- The court recognized the applicability of the Patient Safety Act and accepted that the hospital had a PSES and that the information was utilized appropriately in that context, and therefore would be protected PSWP except for the state risk management and reporting requirements.
- The court found that the need to gather the information under state law and to report some of it precluded it from being protected PSWP. Read More