(1) A licensee, certificate holder, or licensed firm, or any of their employees shall not disclose any confidential information obtained in the course of a professional transaction except with the consent of the client or former client or as disclosure may be required by law, legal process, the standards of the profession, or as disclosure of confidential information is permitted by *RCW 18.04.350 (3) and (4), 18.04.295(8), 18.04.390, and this section in connection with quality assurance, or peer reviews, investigations, and any proceeding under chapter 34.05 RCW.
(2) This section shall not be construed as limiting the authority of this state or of the United States or an agency of this state, the board, or of the United States to subpoena and use such confidential information obtained by a licensee, or any of their employees in the course of a professional transaction in connection with any investigation, public hearing, or other proceeding, nor shall this section be construed as prohibiting a licensee or certified public accountant whose professional competence has been challenged in a court of law or before an administrative agency from disclosing confidential information as a part of a defense to the court action or administrative proceeding.
(3) The proceedings, records, and work papers of a review committee shall be privileged and shall not be subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal process or introduction into evidence in any civil action, arbitration, administrative proceeding, or board proceeding and no member of the review committee or person who was involved in the peer review process shall be permitted or required to testify in any such civil action, arbitration, administrative proceeding, or board proceeding as to any matter produced, presented, disclosed, or discussed during or in connection with the peer review process, or as to any findings, recommendations, evaluations, opinions, or other actions of such committees, or any members thereof. Information, documents, or records that are publicly available are not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any civil action, arbitration, administrative proceeding, or board proceeding merely because they were presented or considered in connection with the quality assurance or peer review process.
[2001 c 294 § 22; 1992 c 103 § 17; 1986 c 295 § 19; 1983 c 234 § 23.]
| *Reviser's note: RCW 18.04.350 was amended by 2008 c 16 § 6, changing subsections (3) and (4) to subsections (7) and (8).|
Effective date -- 2001 c 294: See note following RCW 18.04.015.