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Alabama Code Title 34. Professions and Businesses § 34-29-111

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(a) It shall be the duty and obligation of the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to promote the early identification, intervention, treatment, and rehabilitation of veterinary professionals licensed to practice veterinary medicine or veterinary technology in Alabama who may be impaired by reason of illness, inebriation, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or other substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition.

(b) In order to carry out this obligation the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners may contract with any nonprofit corporation or medical professional association for the purpose of creating, supporting, and maintaining a committee of veterinary professionals to be designated the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee. The committee shall consist of not less than 10 nor more than 15 veterinary professionals licensed to practice in Alabama and selected in a manner prescribed by the board. The board may expend available funds as necessary to adequately provide for the operational expenses of the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee, including, but not limited to, the actual cost of travel, office overhead, and personnel expense. The funds provided by the board for the purpose of operating expenses shall not be subject to any provision of law requiring competitive bidding.

(c) The Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners may enter into an agreement with a nonprofit corporation or medical professional association for the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee to undertake those functions and responsibilities specified in the agreement which may include any or all of the following:

(1) Contracting with providers of treatment programs.

(2) Receiving and evaluating reports of suspected impairment from any source.

(3) Intervening in cases of verified impairment.

(4) Referring impaired veterinary professionals to treatment programs.

(5) Monitoring the treatment and rehabilitation of impaired veterinary professionals.

(6) Providing post-treatment monitoring and support of rehabilitated impaired veterinary professionals.

(7) Performing other activities as agreed by the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee.

(d) The Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee shall develop procedures in consultation with the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for the following:

(1) Periodic reporting of statistical information regarding impaired veterinary professionals program activity.

(2) Periodic disclosure and joint review of the information as the board deems appropriate regarding reports received, contracts or investigations made, and the disposition of each report, provided, however, that the committee shall not disclose any personally identifiable information except as provided in this article.

(e) Any veterinary professional licensed in Alabama who shall be duly appointed to serve as a member of the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee and any auxiliary personnel, consultants, attorneys, or other volunteers or employees of the committee taking any action authorized by this article, engaging in the performance of any duties on behalf of the committee, or participating in any administrative or judicial proceeding resulting therefrom, shall, in the performance and operation thereof, be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Any nonprofit corporation or medical professional association or state or county veterinary medical association that contracts with or receives funds from the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for the creation, support, and operation of the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee shall, in so doing, be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.

(f) All information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, or other documents furnished to or produced by the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee and any findings, conclusions, recommendations, or reports resulting from the investigations, interventions, treatment, or rehabilitation, or other proceedings of such committee are declared to be privileged and confidential. All records and proceedings of the committee pertaining to the impaired veterinary professional shall be confidential and shall be used by the committee and the members thereof only in the exercise of the proper function of the committee and shall not be public records nor available for court subpoena or for discovery proceedings. In the event of a breach of contract between the committee and the impaired veterinary professional, any and all records pertaining to the conduct determined to cause the breach of contract will be disclosed to the regulatory board upon its request for disciplinary purposes only. Nothing contained herein shall apply to records made in the regular course of business of a veterinary professional and information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources are not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any civil proceedings merely because they were presented or considered during the proceedings of the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee.

(g) The Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee shall render an annual report to the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners concerning the operations and proceedings of the committee for the preceding year. The committee shall report to the board any veterinary professional who in the opinion of the committee is unable to practice veterinary medicine or veterinary technology with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness, inebriation, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, alcohol, chemicals, or other substances, or as a result of any physical or mental condition when it appears that the veterinary professional is currently in need of intervention, treatment, or rehabilitation and the veterinary professional has failed or refused to participate in programs of treatment or rehabilitation recommended by the committee. A report to the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee shall be deemed to be a report to the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for the purposes of any mandated reporting of veterinary professional impairment otherwise provided for by law.

(h) If the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has reasonable cause to believe that a veterinary professional is impaired, the board may cause an evaluation of the veterinary professional to be conducted by the Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee for the purpose of determining if there is an impairment. The Alabama Veterinary Professionals Wellness Committee shall report the findings of its evaluation to the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Alabama Code Title 34. Professions and Businesses § 34-29-111 - last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-34-professions-and-businesses/al-code-sect-34-29-111/


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