September 28, 2023

Do hospital-employed physicians have a conflict of interest with respect to private practice physicians in matters involving credentialing, privileging, and peer review?

Some independent physicians may feel that employed physicians should not be involved in leadership positions for fear that their employment relationships could influence their actions as Medical Staff leaders. Legally, there is no support for viewing an employment relationship as a disqualifying factor when it comes to participating in these activities. And we have rarely seen the type of political pressure from management that independent physicians worry about being brought down on employed physicians who do.

Of course, if a specific concern is raised about an individual’s participation in any given process, it always makes sense to consider whether an individual’s employment would result in a conflict of interest under the guidelines that have been adopted by the Medical Staff.  But, practically, it seems difficult to imagine a Medical Staff adopting bylaws documents that would exclude an employed physician from serving in a leadership position – or from otherwise participating in credentialing and peer review activities – given the large number of physicians who are now employed by hospitals and/or their affiliates.

If you have additional questions about this, please contact Ian Donaldson at