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Substitute Senate Bill No. 304

Public Act No. 18-150

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A MATERNAL MORTALITY REVIEW PROGRAM AND COMMITTEE WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 19a-25 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

All information, records of interviews, written reports, statements, notes, memoranda or other data, including personal data as defined in subdivision (9) of section 4-190, procured by the Department of Public Health, [or] by staff committees of facilities accredited by the Department of Public Health or the maternity mortality review committee, established pursuant to section 3 of this act, in connection with studies of morbidity and mortality conducted by the Department of Public Health, [or] such staff committees [,] or the maternal mortality review committee, or carried on by said department, [or] such staff committees or the maternal mortality review committee jointly with other persons, agencies or organizations, or procured by the directors of health of towns, cities or boroughs or the Department of Public Health pursuant to section 19a-215, or procured by such other persons, agencies or organizations, for the purpose of reducing the morbidity or mortality from any cause or condition, shall be confidential and shall be used solely for the purposes of medical or scientific research and, for information obtained pursuant to section 19a-215, disease prevention and control by the local director of health and the Department of Public Health. Such information, records, reports, statements, notes, memoranda or other data shall not be admissible as evidence in any action of any kind in any court or before any other tribunal, board, agency or person, nor shall it be exhibited or its contents disclosed in any way, in whole or in part, by any officer or representative of the Department of Public Health or of any such facility, by any person participating in such a research project or by any other person, except as may be necessary for the purpose of furthering the research project to which it relates. Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 55, the Department of Public Health may exchange personal data for the purpose of medical or scientific research, with any other governmental agency or private research organization; provided such state, governmental agency or private research organization shall not further disclose such personal data. The Commissioner of Public Health shall adopt regulations consistent with the purposes of this section to establish the procedures to ensure the confidentiality of such disclosures. The furnishing of such information to the Department of Public Health or its authorized representative, or to any other agency cooperating in such a research project, shall not subject any person, hospital, sanitarium, rest home, nursing home or other person or agency furnishing such information to any action for damages or other relief because of such disclosure. This section shall not be deemed to affect disclosure of regular hospital and medical records made in the course of the regular notation of the care and treatment of any patient, but only records or notations by such staff committees pursuant to their work.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2018) (a) As used in this section and section 3 of this act, "maternal death" means the death of a woman while pregnant or not later than one year after the date on which the woman ceases to be pregnant, regardless of whether the woman's death is related to her pregnancy, and "department" means the Department of Public Health.

(b) There is established, within the department, a maternal mortality review program. The program shall be responsible for identifying maternal death cases in Connecticut and reviewing medical records and other relevant data related to each maternal death case, including, but not limited to, information collected from death and birth records, files from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and physician office and hospital records.

(c) Licensed health care providers, health care facilities and pharmacies shall provide the maternal mortality review program, established under this section with reasonable access to all relevant medical records associated with a maternal death case under review by the program.

(d) All information obtained by the department for the maternal mortality review program shall be confidential pursuant to section 19a-25 of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, the department may provide the maternal mortality review committee, established pursuant to section 3 of this act, with information as is necessary, in the department's discretion, for the committee to make recommendations regarding the prevention of maternal death.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2018) (a) There is established a maternal mortality review committee within the department to conduct a comprehensive, multidisciplinary review of maternal deaths for purposes of identifying factors associated with maternal death and making recommendations to reduce maternal deaths.

(b) The cochairpersons of the maternal mortality review committee shall be the Commissioner of Public Health, or the commissioner's designee, and a representative designated by the Connecticut State Medical Society. The cochairpersons shall convene a meeting of the maternal mortality review committee upon the request of the Commissioner of Public Health.

(c) The maternal mortality review committee may include, but not be limited to, any of the following members, as needed, depending on the maternal death case being reviewed:

(1) A physician licensed pursuant to chapter 370 of the general statutes who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, appointed by the Connecticut State Medical Society;

(2) A physician licensed pursuant to chapter 370 of the general statutes who is a pediatrician, appointed by the Connecticut State Medical Society;

(3) A community health worker, appointed by the Commission on Equity and Opportunity;

(4) A nurse-midwife licensed pursuant to chapter 377 of the general statutes, appointed by the Connecticut Nurses Association;

(5) A clinical social worker licensed pursuant to chapter 383b of the general statutes, appointed by the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers;

(6) A psychiatrist licensed pursuant to chapter 370 of the general statutes, appointed by the Connecticut Psychiatric Society;

(7) A psychologist licensed pursuant to chapter 20-136 of the general statutes, appointed by the Connecticut Psychological Association;

(8) The Chief Medical Examiner, or the Chief Medical Examiner's designee;

(9) A member of the Connecticut Hospital Association;

(10) A representative of a community or regional program or facility providing services for persons with psychiatric disabilities or persons with substance use disorders, appointed by the Commissioner of Public Health;

(11) A representative of The University of Connecticut-sponsored health disparities institute; or

(12) Any additional member the cochairpersons determine would be beneficial to serve as a member of the committee.

(d) Whenever a meeting of the maternal mortality review committee takes place, the committee shall consult with relevant experts to evaluate the information and findings obtained from the department pursuant to section 2 of this act and make recommendations regarding the prevention of maternal deaths. Not later than ninety days after such meeting, the committee shall report, to the Commissioner of Public Health, any recommendations and findings of the committee in a manner that complies with section 19a-25 of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

(e) All information provided by the department to the maternal mortality review committee shall be subject to the provisions of section 19a-25 of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

Approved June 12, 2018