Consider state law when drafting the corrective action section of medical staff bylaws

Every state has laws that affect the corrective action section of the medical staff bylaws. These include state peer review statutes and additional reporting regulations issued by state health departments or other government entities. When composing bylaws, it is always prudent to run the proposed changes by an attorney familiar with state law.

When creating text for medical staff corrective actions, keep three goals firmly in mind:

  • Patient safety and well-being must be the foremost consideration. The corrective action process should not be so onerous or convoluted that this goal is not readily achieved.
  • The process must protect individual members of the medical staff from abuse by colleagues or hospital officials.
  • The process should facilitate appropriate participation by members of the medical staff and protect them from retaliation by angry colleagues.

With regard to the final point, many medical staff bylaws detail the circumstances under which the hospital will indemnify medical staff members who are sued or dragged into litigation by a colleague. The bylaws should also clearly indicate that the medical staff peer review process and corrective actions recommended or taken by the medical staff and the board are intended to be fully protected by state and federal laws.