MDNews - Minnesota

May 2015

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+++++++++++++++++++ + +++ + +++ +++++++++++++++++++ LEGAL EASE ❯ By Larry Schaefer F ACING A PEER-REVIEW process in which alleged clinical incompetence or serious behavior concerns are at issue can be terrifying for physicians. Careers can be truly threatened, as this process can result in a report to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) 1 under the requirements of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA). 2 According to the NPDB website, the intent of the legislation creating the NPDB is to "restrict the ability of incompetent physicians, dentists, and other health care professionals to move from state to state without disclosure or discovery of previous medical malpractice payment and adverse action history" (emphasis added). Any NPDB report thus makes if difficult — and in some instances impossible — to secure privileges to practice elsewhere, so the stakes in this process couldn't be higher for the affected physician. Previous legal updates provided an overview of the peer- review process and identified when discrimination and/or retaliation claims can serve to pierce the confidentiality and immunity provided by the Minnesota peer-review statute. 3 This update focuses on potential remedies available to affected physicians when these claims aren't present, but instead there are serious concerns about both the legitimacy of the concerns raised in the process, and, most significantly, whether the procedural safeguards intended to provide due process in peer review have been followed. A healthcare organization forfeits immunity from legal claims otherwise provided under the Peer Review Statute if it is determined that the process has been motivated by malice. 4 This has been defined by the Minnesota Court of Ensuring Due Process during Peer Review 1 4 | Minnesota MD NEWS ■ M D N E W S . CO M

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