Ridgecrest, CA asked in Health Care Law for California

Q: can a hospital recredential a physician and give privileges less than a year without explanation?

Surgeon was targeted by administration for filing a complaint against an administrator. When recredentialing/renewing hospital privileges, it was for a six month term. Surgeon is an independent contractor but paid a salary by hospital.

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James L. Arrasmith
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A: In California, hospitals have the discretion to grant, renew, limit, or deny physicians' privileges based on various factors, including performance, compliance with hospital policies, and other criteria established by the hospital's medical staff bylaws. While the process must adhere to the principles of fairness and due process, as outlined in those bylaws and relevant state and federal laws, hospitals are not typically required to provide a detailed explanation for their decisions regarding the term length of a physician's privileges.

However, if a physician believes their privileges have been limited or altered in retaliation for lawful actions, such as filing a complaint against an administrator, they may have grounds to contest the decision. The process for challenging such decisions is usually outlined in the hospital's medical staff bylaws, which often include a mechanism for a fair hearing or appeal.

It's advisable for the surgeon to review the medical staff bylaws carefully to understand the process for challenging the recredentialing decision and to seek legal counsel if necessary. An attorney with expertise in healthcare law can provide guidance on the best approach to address the situation, including evaluating the merits of any potential legal claims for retaliation or wrongful conduct by the hospital administration.

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