Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Passing Information, Instead of Passing the Buck

To those not in the medical arena, it seems unthinkable that Hospital "A" would not tell Hospital "B" that a particular physician on "A's" staff was less than stellar when he applies for privileges at "B." There are very strict guidelines regarding the peer review process, and it is difficult from a legal standpoint to say much in these situations. A new legal precedent, however, may make it a whole lot easier for hospitals to divulge this type of information.

A federal court in Louisiana recently held that a Louisiana hospital had a duty to disclose information about their medical staff members to a hospital in Washington in order to protect future patients.
Certain types of physician problems, such as loss of privileges, must generally be reported to state medical boards, but "concerns" that have never resulted in outright revocation of privileges generally are not. In many cases, there is a careful legally negotiated resignation from a hospital; this is not reportable to the state board, and therefore not public knowledge. This decision will (hopefully) allow and encourage hospitals to pass along this kind of information without the threat of legal recrimination. And that's a great thing, IMHO.

Hat tip to the MSSP Nexus Blog, with an assist in finding this site from the Health Business Blog!