April 11, 2024

Can medical staff peer review or quality information be shared with the hospital’s affiliated employed physician group?

It depends. All too often the reflexive answer to this question is “No way!  We’ll waive the privilege.”  But that’s not always the case.  In some situations, failing to share information within a hospital or health system could result in liability or even put patients in danger.  While each situation is different, each state’s law is unique and the facts and circumstances of a particular request will dictate the outcome, here are a few questions that might be helpful in analyzing whether sharing information could jeopardize the peer review privilege and the pros and cons of doing so.

  • What are you sharing?

o          Is it covered by the statute/privilege in the first place?

  • Who are you sharing it with?

o          Is the recipient organization entitled to the privilege or statutory protection?

  • What is it going to be used for?

o          E.g., Does the statute limit the use of the information to “peer review purposes”?

  • Does the peer review protection statute in question address waivers?
  • Do court cases in your state address waivers?
  • Does the peer review protection statute just confer a privilege or is there a statutory mandate of confidentiality?

There’s no one answer and a deeper analysis is always a good idea.  But hopefully this simple algorithm will help guide that process.

If you have a quick question about this, e-mail Dan Mulholland at dmulholland@hortyspringer.com.