(a) In order to encourage voluntary participation in monitored alcohol, chemical dependency or major mental illness programs and in recognition of the fact that major mental illness, alcoholism and chemical dependency are illnesses, any person who holds a license to practice registered nursing in this state or who is applying for a license to practice registered nursing in this state may enter into a voluntary agreement with a nurse health program as defined in section one, article seven-e of this chapter. The agreement between the licensee or applicant and the nurse health program shall include a jointly agreed upon treatment program and mandatory conditions and procedures to monitor compliance with the program of recovery.
(b) Any voluntary agreement entered into pursuant to this section shall not be considered a disciplinary action or order by the board, shall not be disclosed to the board and shall not be public information if:
(1) Such voluntary agreement is the result of the licensee or applicant self enrolling or voluntarily participating in the board- designated nurse health program;
(2) The board has not received nor filed any written complaints regarding said licensee or applicant relating to an alcohol, chemical dependency or major mental illness affecting the care and treatment of patients; and
(3) The licensee or applicant is in compliance with the voluntary treatment program and the conditions and procedures to monitor compliance.
(c) Pursuant to this section, if any licensee or applicant enters into a voluntary agreement with a nurse health program as defined in section one, article seven-e of this chapter, and then fails to comply with or fulfill the terms of said agreement, the nurse health program shall report the noncompliance to the board within twenty-four hours. The board may initiate disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section eleven of this article or may permit continued participation in the nurse health program or both.
(d) If the board has not instituted any disciplinary proceeding as provided for in this article, any information received, maintained or developed by the board relating to the alcohol or chemical dependency impairment of any licensee or applicant and any voluntary agreement made pursuant to this section shall be confidential and not available for public information, discovery or court subpoena, nor for introduction into evidence in any medical professional liability action or other action for damages arising out of the provision of or failure to provide health care services.
(e) Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions, the board may cooperate with and provide documentation of any voluntary agreement entered into pursuant to this section to licensing boards in other jurisdictions of which the board has become aware and may be appropriate.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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