Presentation on theme: "Protection of Medical Committee Records and Peer Review in Louisiana Edward P. Richards Director, Program in Law, Science, and Public Health Harvey A."— Presentation transcript:
Protection of Medical Committee Records and Peer Review in Louisiana Edward P. Richards Director, Program in Law, Science, and Public Health Harvey A. Peltier Professor of Law Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA
State Facilities and Open Records Requests – La RS 44:7La RS 44:7 Exempts medical information held by state hospitals, prisons, and other institutions providing care is not available for open records requests Allows institutions to make rules governing reasonable access to records authorized individuals Records are available through discovery if the subject’s medical condition is at issue
Records of Research Subjects La RS 44:7 F Provides that there will be no release of medical research information prepared by public institutions, including universities, doing research under IRB Direction This includes barring release through discovery Does not clearly allow the subject to release the info on themselves to anyone but the researcher What if you are alleging research misconduct?
Protection of Peer Review and Peer Review Records
Peer Review What is peer review? Why do we let hospitals and physicians do this, rather than a state agency? Why is it important that it be done correctly?
Conflicts in Peer Review
Physician Conflicts What are the possible business relationships between medical staff members? Competitors Partners Referral Relationships How do these potentially bias peer review?
Hospital Conflicts Is a bad doc always bad business? What are the economics? Legal Issues Independent contractor status gives some protection to the hospital Most malpractice does not result in litigation Litigation is in the future Capture of the peer review process by docs
LA RS 13: LA RS 13: Peer review committee records; confidentiality Committee and peer review records are confidential Exceptions for med mal cases "However, no original record or document, which is otherwise discoverable, prepared by any person, other than a member of the peer review committee or the staff of the peer review committee, may be held confidential solely because it is the only copy and is in the possession of a peer review committee. " What does this mean? - Smith v. Lincoln General Hosp., 605 So.2d 1347 (La. 1992)
What if the Doc is Contesting the Peer Review? "except in any proceedings affecting the hospital staff privileges of a physician, dentist, psychologist, or podiatrist, the records forming the basis of any decision adverse to the physician, dentist, psychologist, or podiatrist may be obtained by the physician, dentist, psychologist, or podiatrist only."
Protection of Individuals and Institutions In the OLOL case, why did the court rule that the hospital and the physician's corporation were not covered by the statute? What does the current Section B protect?Section B How would this change the court's ruling? What is the standard for immunity in the current Section B? without malice and in the reasonable belief such action or recommendation is warranted by the facts known to him.
Smith v. Our Lady of the Lake Hosp., Inc., 639 So.2d 730 (La. 1994)
Dr. Smith Why is Dr. Smith fighting this so hard? How much money do you think he is spending How is he using his financial power to pressure the hospital and the committee members? Can you use litigation to punish someone even if you probably cannot win? SLAPP Suits Why are judges hesitant to dismiss cases and impose sanctions?
The Federal Action - RICO Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act Conspiracy law based on committing certain criminal predicate Acts More Info What happened to this claim? What about the sanctions?
Federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act Effective after this case Cases based on this are used as precedent in OLOL because the standards and policy are the same Provides immunity for Federal claims Antitrust is most important for private actors Limits some constitutional claims against state actors
State Claims Who is he suing? What are his state claims? What actions are these claims based on? Who was his associate? How does this affect your opinion of plaintiff?
Basis for the Limitation of Privileges What are the two issues that lead to his privileges being limited and then terminated? Who was asked to evaluate the medical care he delivered? Why not use the other medical staff members? Was he given a probation period to clean up his act? Was he allowed to present evidence to the reviewing bodies?
District Court What did the district court do? Why is this critical to protecting peer review from intimidation? Why is litigation a problem for individual committee members even if the insurer or hospital is paying the bills? How is this like defamation standards for news organizations?
Appeals Court Why did the appeals court reverse?
LA Supreme Court Why does the court analogize the peer review privilege to the privilege in defamation in suits arising out of the employer-employee relationship?  Why is this privilege necessary? What has happened to reference checking? What are the elements of this privilege? 
Is there Privilege in this Case? What is the two step process for deciding if the privilege exists?  Does the judge or jury usually decide the second step? What is the exception? Did the defendant's actions arise out of the peer review process?
"with malice or without good faith" What if the members of the committee hate the plaintiff and would be better off if he were out of business? What do they have to show to defend their actions in this situation?  How is this reflected in the standard in the amended statute?
Plaintiff's Case Why does the court reject the plaintiff's affidavits saying he was a great surgeon and all around good guy?  What is the evidence that the study of patient injuries was started without any animus toward plaintiff?  What standard does the court use to decide if deviations from the procedure in the bylaws are material? 
The Ruling What was the final ruling? What cause of action was not dismissed? Why? This is also true of the federal law