Privileging Activities of Hospital Credentials Committee May Be Protected from Disclosure

June 24, 2022 | Aging Services Risk Management


​In 2014, a physician applied for medical staff privileges and orthopedic surgery clinical privileges at a local hospital. The privileges were granted later that year. A patient sought treatment for a spinal injury from this physician. The doctor performed back surgery in mid-January 2015; the surgery took place over a two-day period. The plaintiff alleged that shortly thereafter he suffered "a series of strokes, resulting in numerous impairments including permanent brain damage" (Leadbitterat **3). The plaintiff brought a claim of corporate negligence against the hospital as part of a medical malpractice suit.

Both the trial court and Superior Court granted the plaintiff's discovery motion regarding five items that the hospital claims on appeal are protected from discovery (e.g., an ongoing professional practice evaluation summary report; a professional peer review reference and competency evaluation, which contained evaluations prepared by other physicians of 'the doctor's performance; and three documents described as "national practitioner data bank query response," based on queries submitted to the National Practitioner Data Bank ("NPDB") in July 2014, December 2014, and January 2017.") Both courts relied on the holding in Reginelli v. Boggs, 645 Pa. 470, 181 A.3d 293 (2018), finding that the documents of a "review committee" are protected from disclosure under the Peer Review Protection Act (PRPA) while documents from a "review organization" are not. (Id. At *3-4). The lower courts held that the credentialing committee was not a review committee...

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