QUESTION: It’s the flu season, again, and we know that we can require employed physicians to have a flu shot, but what about physicians who aren’t employed? What’s the easiest way to do this?
ANSWER: Yes, a hospital can require non-employed physicians to get a flu shot. The easiest way to implement the policy for non-employed physicians is to include it as part of the eligibility criteria in the medical staff bylaws or credentials policy. The criteria could require every applicant and medical staff member to provide evidence of an annual flu shot. Of course, with every rule, there are exceptions. For example, a physician may have a medical condition that prevents him/her from receiving a flu shot. In those cases, the physician could be required to wear a mask at all times in the hospital.