QUESTION: A registrant at our recent Complete Course for Medical Staff Leaders in New Orleans in April asked: Can we call a past Department Chief, as you did in the case study, without the applicant’s specific consent?
ANSWER: Yes, you can and should! Your Bylaws or Credentials Policy, and application forms, should contain an authorization, as a condition to consideration of the application, to obtain full information about an applicant’s qualifications, including education, training, practice experience, current competence, and professionalism from all educational institutions and organizations where the candidate has practiced. You should contact department chiefs at hospitals where an applicant has most recently practiced. The applicant may not have listed recent past department chief(s) as references, but you are not limited to contacting those listed as references by the applicant. Those providing information should be released by the applicant to the fullest extent permitted by law.