§ 17.500 - General.
(a) Section 5705, title 38, United States Code was enacted to protect the integrity of the VA's medical quality assurance program by making confidential and privileged certain records and documents generated by this program and information contained therein. Disclosure of quality assurance records and documents made confidential and privileged by 38 U.S.C. 5705 and the regulations in §§ 17.500 through 17.511 may only be made in accordance with the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 5705 and those regulations.
(b) The purpose of the regulations in §§ 17.500 through 17.511 is to specify and provide for the limited disclosure of those quality assurance documents which are confidential under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 5705.
(c) For purposes of the regulations in §§ 17.500 through 17.511, the VA's medical quality assurance program consists of systematic healthcare reviews carried out by or for VA for the purpose of improving the quality of medical care or improving the utilization of healthcare resources in VA medical facilities. These review activities may involve continuous or periodic data collection and may relate to either the structure, process, or outcome of health care provided in the VA.
(d) Nothing in the regulations in §§ 17.500 through 17.511 shall be construed as authority to withhold any record or document from a committee or subcommittee of either House of Congress or any joint committee or subcommittee of Congress, if such record or document pertains to any matter within the jurisdiction of such committee or joint committee.
(e) The regulations in §§ 17.500 through 17.511 do not waive the sovereign immunity of the United States, and do not waive the confidentiality provisions and disclosure restrictions of 38 U.S.C. 5705.