January 23, 2020

QUESTION:  Our hospital is part of a health system. Is there any way we can take advantage of our size and resources to improve our peer review process?

ANSWER:  Yes! Health systems have many options for improving their professional practice evaluation (“PPE”)/peer review processes that aren’t available to individual hospitals. Here are a few examples.

1.  System PPEC

Health systems can create a system Professional Practice Evaluation Committee (“System PPEC”) with representatives from each hospital in the system. The System PPEC could:

(a) serve as a resource for the PPECs of individual system hospitals;

(b) compile triggers for PPE/peer review, OPPE data indicators, and criteria for Informational Letters, and share those with local PPECs for their approval; and

(c) compile and disseminate best practices and lessons learned from each system hospital.

The System PPEC would assist local PPECs, but the local PPEC would remain responsible for all decisions regarding a review.

2.  System Specialty Review Committees

System Specialty Review Committees comprised of specialists from system hospitals could be appointed to review cases upon the request of a system hospital. The PPEC at the entity requesting the review would retain full responsibility for deciding what to do with each case. The System Specialty Review Committee would simply serve as another source of expertise for that PPEC.

System Specialty Review Committees could also monitor aggregate data related to system practitioners and facilities in their specialties and disseminate best practices and lessons learned through the review process.

3.  PPE/Peer Review Clearinghouse Policy

Systems could develop a policy by which central administrative personnel serve as a “clearinghouse” for case review services. System hospitals would notify the clearinghouse of practitioners who have agreed to provide case review services for other system hospitals. A hospital that requires a case review would contact the clearinghouse, which would identify a practitioner who has agreed to provide such services.

4.  PPE/Peer Review Services Agreement Between Facilities

Under this option, one system hospital (the “PPE Services Provider”) could provide PPE/peer review services to another system hospital (the “Requesting Hospital”). The PPE Services Provider and the Requesting Hospital would execute an agreement to describe their respective obligations. The services to be provided by the PPE Services Provider might include case review services, regular participation in meetings of a PPE/peer review committee, and assistance with the FPPE process to confirm practitioner competence.

5.  PPE/Peer Review Services Agreement For Individual Reviewer

Under this option, an individual practitioner who has privileges at one system entity would
provide PPE/peer review services directly to another system entity. Essentially, the practitioner would be serving as an external reviewer for the facility requesting services. The system could develop a template agreement by which these services are provided.