January 4, 2024

Are Medical Staff Professionals protected under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act (“HCQIA”)?

While it is rare for a Medical Staff Professional to be named individually in a lawsuit brought by a physician subject to a professional review action, the protections under the HCQIA should be available.  The HCQIA’s protections are available for “professional review bodies,” “any person acting as a member or staff to the body,” and “any person who participates with or assists the body with respect to the [professional review] action.”  Typically, Medical Staff Professionals are not appointed as members of professional review bodies, but the immunity under the HCQIA, as noted above, is also available for those who participate or assist the body with respect to a professional review action.  This provision could apply to duties that Medical Staff Professionals perform, including preparing materials for review by, for example, the Medical Executive Committee.  But keep in mind, for the immunity to apply when a professional review action is taken, certain enumerated standards in the law must be met.  The HCQIA also provides immunity from damages for those providing information to professional review bodies regarding the competence or professional conduct of a physician.  Again, this would most likely cover the tasks performed by Medical Staff Professionals if they are playing a supporting role for Medical Staff committees.

If you have a quick question about this, e-mail Charlie Chulack at cchulack@hortyspringer.com.