By Representatives Odom, Kernell

Substituted for: Senate Bill No. 3035

By Senators Springer,Person, Kurita

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-7-115 and Section 63-7-207, relative to the powers and duties of the board of nursing.


SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-7-115, is amended by adding the following language as new subsections:


(1) The board may utilize one (1) or more screening panels in its investigative and disciplinary process to assure that complaints filed and investigations conducted are meritorious, and to act as a mechanism for diversion, to professional peer review organizations and/or impaired professionals associations or foundations, those cases which the board, through established guidelines, deems appropriate; upon diversion, such entities shall retain the same immunity as provided by law for the board.

(2) The screening panels shall consist of as many members as the board directs, but shall include at least one (1) but no more than three (3) licensed nurses, who may be members of the board or may serve either voluntarily or through employment by or under contract with the board;

(3) The activities of the screening panels, and any mediation or arbitration sessions shall not be construed as meetings of an agency for purposes of the open meetings act and shall remain confidential. The members of the screening panels, mediators and arbitrators have a deliberative privilege and the same immunity as provided by law for the board, and are not subject to deposition or subpoena to testify regarding any matter or issue raised in any contested case, criminal prosecution or civil lawsuit which may result from or be incident to cases processed before them.

(d) The board retains jurisdiction to modify or refuse to modify, upon request of any party, any of its orders issued pursuant to this section in compliance with procedures established by the board. The board, pursuant to duly promulgated rules, may, whenever a final order is issued after a disciplinary contested case hearing which contains findings that a licensee or other person has violated any provision of this chapter, assess the costs directly related to the prosecution of the case against the licensee or person.

(e) Any elected officer of the board, or any duly appointed or elected chair of any panel of the board, or any screening panel, and any hearing officer, arbitrator or mediator has the authority to administer oaths to witnesses, and upon probable cause being established, issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents and records.

SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-7-207, is amended by adding the following language as a new item (15):

(15) Issue advisory private letter rulings to any affected licensee who makes such a request regarding any matters within the board's primary jurisdiction. Such private letter ruling shall only affect the licensee making such inquiry, and shall have no precedential value for any other inquiry or future contested case to come before the board. Any dispute regarding a private letter ruling may, if the board chooses to do so, be resolved pursuant to the declaratory order provisions of 4-5-223.

SECTION 3. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-7-207, is amended by adding the following as a new subsection thereto:

( ) By January 1, 2002, the Board of Nursing shall implement a plan to assure continuing competence of licensees, using educationally sound methods to promote learning and assess outcomes pertinent to contemporary standards of nursing practice.

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

PASSED: April 29, 1998

APPROVED this 18th day of May 1998