"Allowing the Governing Board to select the hearing officer and JRC panel is not an inconsequential violation of the Bylaws. Rather, it undermines the purpose of the peer review mechansim ... Peer review that is not conducted fairly and results in the unwarranted loss of a qualified physician's right or privilege to use a hospital's facilities deprives the physician of a property interest directly connected to the physician's livelihood."
AB 655 (Hayashi) flies in the face of this case and needs corrective language in the form of amendments. Better still would be to hold the bill over until next year (making it a two-year bill) so it can be re-worked and re-submitted with language that'll protect against sham peer review.
The California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery (CSIMS) filed a letter of "Concern" on August 24th. To the best of this writer's knowledge, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) remains "watch" while the California Medical Association (CMA) remains the sponsor for a bill that looks as though it were written by the California Hospital Association (CHA). In the Osamah A. El-Attar case, 2nd Appellate District, Division 4, B209056, the CMA provided Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Respondent (Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center).
Source: Court document "Certified for Paritial Publication," Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, filed 8/19/11 (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BS105623).
However, from the CMA website, "Peer Review: El-Attar, MD, v. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center," we learn that "Dr. El-Attar's medical staff privileges were not renewed by the hospital's governing Board. Following a finding by the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) that there was no basis for the hospital to deny Dr. El-Attar's reappointment to the medical staff, the hospital bypassed the MEC and picked its own panel and hearing officer over Dr. El-Attar's objections. CMA filed an amicus brief in support of Dr. El-Attar (italics added).
The El-Attar court case and AB 655 (Hayahsi) have in common that they both reflect increasing tension over control of the medical staff. Hospitals want control of physicians. It's an end-run around the bar on corporate practice because it's a way for hospitals to become de facto bosses over physicians' practices. Physicians are supposed to work in the interest of patients, not corporate entities.
AB 655 (Hayashi) as currently written tilts too far in favor of hospital administrations. Unamended, the bill pours physicians' rights and privileges down the proverbial drain. Language recently offered by the California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery (CSIMS) could cure this defect. We urge its incorporation into the bill. Absent that, we recommend converting AB 655 into a two-year bill.