Quality Assurance case

Boone Retirement Center, Inc. v. Hamilton, 946 SW 2d. 740( MO. 1997) as standing for the proposition that quality assurance records are not discoverable in a civil case such as the case at bar. The Defendant’s interpretation of Boone is incorrect.

In Boone, the State of Missouri Division on Aging conducted inspections of Boone Retirement Center and found many critical areas where the facility was deficient. The State’s Attorney General initiated a criminal investigation, including the issuance of a criminal subpoena seeking records of the facility’s quality assurance committee. The facility refused citing the above statute. It later filed a writ of prohibition after the Judge issued an order for production.

The Missouri Supreme Court carefully reviewed the statute, paying particular attention to the definition of “State” in the context of the case. In essence, the Court interpreted the federal statutory definition of “State” and determined that a grand jury, a creature of the State, is within the definition of State since it was the State prosecuting the Defendant. Boone is easily distinguishable from the case at bar.

Quite simply, this Plaintiff is not the “State”. If Congress had intended that persons other than the State be prohibited from discovering quality assurance information, it would have so stated. The prohibition of production does not, therefore, apply in this case. And this makes sense. The obvious purpose of limiting the State from access to these records is to ensure the effectiveness of the process. Since the State regulates and inspects the facility, the facility would hesitate to accumulate information and prepare accurate reports that could ultimately be incriminating if the State has access to the information.

However, in the case at bar, civil litigation is not a common occurrence (such as annual State inspections) that would cause the facility to be less than accurate when conducting quality assurance. As such, the purposes behind prohibition of discovery are not thwarted. Even if this court wished to extend the definition of State to this case, none of the documents relied upon by the quality assurance committee would be included. The Boone court was very clear on this issue. The statute limits the scope of non-production to “records of such committee” and does not extend to records and materials generated or created outside the committee and submitted to the committee for its review. See Boone @ 743. If this Court prohibits production of the Defendants records generated by the quality assurance committee, it should not limit production of materials and information relied upon by the committee.