Temporary Privileges: What’s a GO and What’s a NO?

January 7, 2009 - 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm (ET)

Faculty: Susan LapentaPhil Zarone & Rachel Remaley

It’s been a number of years since the Joint Commission came out strongly against the unfettered use of temporary privileges and limited the granting of such privileges to two, distinct situations. The Joint Commission now allows hospitals to grant temporary privileges to a new applicant with a clean background and to address important patient care needs.

Many hospitals still struggle with a variety of issues relating to temporary privileges, especially in regard to locum tenens, ED coverage, and reappointment. As the demand and pressure for temporary privileges grows, questions abound. When are temporary privileges appropriate? When are they prohibited? And what about the gray line in between?

Topics discussed include:

  • An overview of the rules pertaining to temporary privileges.
  • Are “new applicant temporary privileges” just a form of expedited credentialing?
  • Temporary privileges and reappointment: is this practice allowed?
  • What is an important and immediate patient care need justifying the grant of temporary privileges?
  • Do locum tenens privileges fit within applicable accreditation and regulatory standards?
  • Is there a time limit on the grant of temporary privileges?
  • Do we need to get a reference from every hospital where the physician has previously worked before granting temporary privileges?
  • Should we verify credentials other than the bare minimum required by law and the Joint Commission in granting these privileges?
  • Do we need to conduct ongoing and focused professional practice evaluation of locum tenens practitioners?
  • Our orthopedic surgeon wants to go away for the weekend. Is this really an “important patient care need” that justifies granting temporary privileges to the physician he has selected to cover his service?
  • Can temporary privileges be granted for educational purposes – to teach physicians from outside the hospital new procedures or techniques?
  • Can temporary privileges be granted to an expert for the purpose of proctoring (as part of an FPPE) a new privilege granted to a physician on your medical staff?
  • If temporary privileges are revoked, do we need to have a Medical Staff hearing? Is the revocation reportable to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)?


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