QUESTION: What are the responsibilities of our hospital’s Board of Directors (“Board”) with regard to oversight responsibilities of the Medical Staff?
ANSWER: Although it is important to check your state laws and standards set forth by your accrediting organization, a good starting point would be to refer to the Medicare Conditions of Participation (“Medicare CoPs”) pertaining to the Board’s responsibilities, including its oversight responsibilities of the medical staff. For instance, the Medicare CoPs place the ultimate responsibility for quality of care provided at a hospital and monitoring the care provided to patients on the Board. Among others, the Medicare CoPs require the Board to define criteria for and appointing members to the medical staff, grant clinical privileges, ensure the existence and approval of medical staff bylaws, and approve various services in the hospital. Ultimately, the Board holds the responsibility for the quality of patient care in the hospital. The Board and medical staff engage to provide effective credentialing, privileging, and peer review and quality management processes.
Although responsibilities provided by the Medicare CoPs are extensive, do not forget to consult your applicable state laws as well as the standards of your accrediting organization, which may dictate further oversight responsibilities of the Board.