Nahas v. Shore Med. Ctr. — Sept. 2019 (PDF)
Nahas v. Shore Med. Ctr.
Civil No. 13-06537 (RBK/JS) (D.N.J. Sept. 24, 2019)
The New Jersey Federal District Court granted summary judgment for a hospital on federal antitrust and discrimination claims following a six-year-long saga (and the court described an even longer history of state court litigation). During a surgeon’s appeal to the Board of a 2009 denial of his request for endovascular privileges, the hospital realized that the surgeon had performed four unauthorized procedures and scheduled a fifth. The hospital immediately suspended the surgeon for 14 days and required his surgeries to be monitored. After an investigation, the Credentials Committee recommended that the surgeon be required to renew his privileges annually instead of every two years, and the MEC placed the surgeon on FPPE. The court found that the monitoring fell within professional review activities (not professional review actions). The court found that the suspension was a professional review action, but HCQIA immunity was appropriate. The hospital acted reasonably in not affording him a hearing prior to the suspension. Thereafter, access to the Cardiovascular Suite was limited to only physicians with endovascular privileges. Among other aspects of this complex case, the court held that the physician did not show antitrust injury, and that while HCQIA immunity does not apply to civil rights claims, the physician was not able to show that the hospital’s legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons were pretextual.