What steps to take if your Hospital is sued for Negligent Credentialing

Author: William Mack Copeland
1. Notify the hospital's risk manager and legal counsel
If your hospital is being served with a complaint, make multiple copies of the same and all the relevant documents pertaining to the same. Send these documents immediately to the hospital's higher authorities like the CEO or the legal counsel or the risk manager. Prompt notification will allow the legal counsel to prepare an answer and file it with the court without much delay.
2. Contact the Insurance Agent
Notifying an insurance agent will help you get better insight on whether the policy of the hospital allows a legal defense or settlement fee. You may have to make use of the attorney that is being recommended by the insurance company.
3. Safeguard the Attorney-Client Privilege
The attorney-client privilege protects the communication between a lawyer and client confidential.
4. Instruct Others to Hush
Once you notify about the complaint to the concerned authorities, be careful not to discuss the matter with any Tom, Dick and Harry. Speak only on the advice of the council.
5. Conduct Interviews
Conduct interviews among all the physician’s peers for supporting affidavits, conduct interviews among experts to discuss the right standard of care and whether the physician complied with it, and conduct interviews among members of the staff to find out whether anyone else witnessed or was involved in the case.
6. Documents Required
As soon as you receive a complaint, there are certain documents that you need to forward to your attorney. The documents include: Credentialing files of the physician, Medical record of the plaintiff, Incident forms and complaints by and for the physician, Peer review reports and quality assurance reports involving the physician. Also secure any equipment related to the incident so that it could be maintained and evaluated for evidence.
7. Do not tamper peer review privilege
After a physician treats a patient negligently, the lawyer of the patient asks a hospital turn over copy of the doctor's credentialing and personnel file. Discovery of this information might be privileged.

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