(a) Consultants.--The board, with the approval of the commissioner, shall appoint and fix the compensation of a professional consultant who is a licensee of the board, or such other professional as the board may determine, with education and experience in the identification, treatment and rehabilitation of persons with physical or mental impairments. Such consultant shall be accountable to the board and shall act as a liaison between the board and treatment programs, such as alcohol and drug treatment programs licensed by the Department of Health, psychological counseling and impaired professional support groups, which are approved by the board and which provide services to licensees under this act.
(b) Eligibility and disclosure.--The board may defer and ultimately dismiss any of the types of corrective action set forth in this act for an impaired professional so long as the professional is progressing satisfactorily in an approved treatment program, provided that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a professional convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, 1 or convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory or country. An approved program provider shall, upon request, disclose to the consultant such information in its possession regarding an impaired professional in treatment which the program provider is not prohibited from disclosing by an act of this Commonwealth, another state or the United States. Such requirement of disclosure by an approved program provider shall apply in the case of impaired professionals who enter into an agreement in accordance with this section, impaired professionals who are the subject of a board investigation or disciplinary proceeding and impaired professionals who voluntarily enter a treatment program other than under the provisions of this section but who fail to complete the program successfully or to adhere to an aftercare plan developed by the program provider.
(c) Agreement with board.--An impaired professional who enrolls in an approved treatment program shall enter into an agreement with the board under which the professional's license shall be suspended or revoked, but enforcement of that suspension or a revocation may be stayed for the length of time the professional remains in the program and makes satisfactory progress, complies with the terms of the agreement and adheres to any limitations on his practice imposed by the board to protect the public. Failure to enter into such an agreement shall disqualify the professional from the impaired professional program and shall activate an immediate investigation and disciplinary proceeding by the board.
(d) Disciplinary action.--If, in the opinion of the consultant after consultation with the provider, an impaired professional who is enrolled in an approved treatment program has not progressed satisfactorily, the consultant shall disclose to the board all information in his possession regarding said professional, and the board shall institute proceedings to determine if the stay of the enforcement of the suspension or revocation of the impaired professional's license shall be vacated.
(e) Immunity.--An approved program provider who makes a disclosure pursuant to this section shall not be subject to civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences.
(f) Reports to the board.--Any hospital or health care facility, peer or colleague who has substantial evidence that a professional has an active addictive disease for which the professional is not receiving treatment, is diverting a controlled substance or is mentally or physically incompetent to carry out the duties of his or her license shall make or cause to be made a report to the board: Provided, That any person or facility who acts in a treatment capacity to an impaired physician in an approved treatment program is exempt from the mandatory reporting requirements of this subsection. Any person or facility who reports pursuant to this section in good faith and without malice shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability arising from such report. Failure to provide such report within a reasonable time from receipt of knowledge of impairment shall subject the person or facility to a fine not to exceed $1,000. The board shall levy this penalty only after affording the accused party the opportunity for a hearing, as provided in Title 2 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (relating to administrative law and procedure).
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