What should be done if an applicant for reappointment is under investigation but his current term of appointment is set to expire before the investigation is completed?
As most know, the Joint Commission has made it clear that privileges are granted for a period not to exceed two years and that continuations or extensions are not appropriate. While this rule likely came about to avoid routine extensions due to administrative failures to process reappointments in a timely manner, it makes situations like the one above difficult to manage.
Keeping in mind this two-year limitation, we’ve found the best way to address applicants for reappointment who are currently under investigation is through a short-term conditional reappointment pending the outcome of the process. This keeps the hospital on the right side of the Joint Commission, while providing time for the investigation to work its way out.
Having language in your Medical Staff Bylaws documents to support this approach is a key to good credentialing.