Tenn. ruling may lead to new interpretation of peer review laws

A new ruling by an appeals court in Tennessee may lead to hospitals getting a bit more of a break when it comes to peer review protection. The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled that hospitals, not just doctors, can be granted immunity in cases of physician negligence as long as peer review decisions were reached in good faith.

In most states, there are peer review laws in place which give confidentiality and legal immunity to those who participate in peer review. Typically, that means doctors, who are assessing whether their colleague can competently practice medicine. However, it hasn't been clear whether a hospital was protected by the same laws covering doctors conducting peer review. In the current case, a patient sued both a plastic surgeon practicing at Centennial Medical Center for malpractice and the hospital for negligent credentialing.

Ultimately, the appeals court ruled that the hospital was covered under qualified immunity, a defense available under state peer review protection laws. However, other language underscored that a hospital might be liable if it can be proven that a peer review was conducted with malice and in bad faith.

To learn more about this case:
- read this Health Leaders Media article

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