Should you disclose practitioners' privilege lists?

Medical staff policies that require practitioners to sign releases before they disclose information to a requesting hospital are designed to protect an institution against lawsuits. But in the case of disclosing a practitioner’s list of privileges, on what grounds could the practitioner sue the disclosing hospital?

A practitioner could claim that the information provided by the disclosing hospital prevented him or her from gaining privileges at the requesting hospital, says Dwight W. Scott Jr., Esq., an attorney in Houston. For example, if the disclosing hospital releases information stating that the practitioner holds privileges A, B, and C, and the practitioner is applying for privileges A, B, C, and D, the requesting hospital may deny the request for privilege D. 

“The practitioner’s going to be upset at both facilities because he was denied that privilege,” says Scott, and that anger could lead to a lawsuit.

If you receive an application from a practitioner requesting privileges that he or she did not hold at a previous hospital, don’t deny the request based on that fact alone. Instead, ask the practitioner questions such as the following:

  • Did your last organization have the resources to grant those privileges?
  • Did you ever hold those privileges? If so, when was the last time you exercised them?
  • Can you describe the training you’ve received to practice those privileges?
  • Are you willing to undergo competency assessments and additional training if necessary before receiving those privileges?
Found in Categories: 
Legal Considerations, Privileging