Ask HRC: Credentialing and Privileging Concerns for Aging Surgeons

April 19, 2011 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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An HRC member recently inquired about concerns related to surgeons’ competence as they age. Specifically, the member sought information on performance measures and explicit limits hospitals may set on issues such as on-call responsibility or limitations of caseload.

Concerns about surgeons’ age in relationship to their ability to practice safely are common. The January 26, 2011, HRC Alerts includes a discussion of a New York Times article in which patient safety experts debate the necessity of age-based competency assessments. The article describes two studies: the first of which found significantly higher disciplinary rates for physicians who had been out of medical school for 40...

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