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Negligent Credentialing Developments: Impact of Recent Cases and New Joint Commission Medical Staff Standards

Webinar | April 16, 2008

As most hospitals know, every medical malpractice suit against a physician and the hospital is almost always accompanied by a claim by the patient that the hospital was independently negligent when it granted membership and/or clinical privileges to the physician. The argument is that the physician was unqualified to exercise these privileges and thus caused the patient’s injury. This claim, otherwise known as negligent credentialing or the Doctrine of Corporate Negligence, is always asserted but is difficult to prove.

Recently, however, there have been a number of important state court decisions which appear to be breathing new life into this liability theory, such as Frigo v. Silver Cross Hospital which affirmed an $8 million negligent credentialing jury verdict. These cases also have identified some of the difficulties faced by hospitals in their attempt to defend against these lawsuits, such as the prohibition against introducing confidential peer review information to establish that a hospital has met its duty to credential only qualified physicians.

A complicating factor for hospitals is the health care industry’s movement towards more transparency through P4P and similar initiatives which evaluate and publish comparative hospital outcome and utilization information. The internal and external production of this data could prove quite useful to a plaintiff’s attorney because it will not likely be viewed by the courts as protected peer review data. Moreover, the Joint Commission’s new Medical Staff standards now impose additional obligations for hospitals to develop and apply focused and ongoing performance monitoring standards which are to be applied on a continuous basis. Failure to abide by these standards will be used against the hospital in a negligent credentialing claim.

Goals of Program:

  • What must a plaintiff establish in order to succeed in a negligent credentialing case?
  • Review of recent cases and their impact on a hospital’s duty to protect patients.
  • Overview and impact of the Joint Commission Medical Staff Standards on negligent credentialing arguments.
  • How to successfully defend against these actions.
  • The importance of establishing and uniformly applying credentialing criteria as well as documenting grounds for exceptions to minimize negligent credentialing claims.
  • What impact does your state’s peer review confidentiality statute have on the hospital’s ability to defend against these lawsuits?
  • How to maximize your peer review protections as applied to physician profiling and P4P information.

Topics include:

  • What a plaintiff must establish in order to succeed in a negligent credentialing case 
  • Review of recent cases and their impact on a hospital’s duty to protect patients 
  • Overview and impact of the Joint Commission Medical Staff Standards on negligent credentialing arguments 
  • How to successfully defend against these actions 
  • The importance of establishing and uniformly applying credentialing criteria as well as documenting grounds for exceptions to minimize negligent credentialing claims 
  • What impact your state’s peer review confidentiality statute has on the hospital’s ability to defend against these lawsuits 
  • How to maximize your peer review protections as applied to physician profiling and P4P information

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