Although it is not thought of as a major issue in the healthcare industry, negligent credentialing is more common than you would believe. In order for a doctor to use the hospital facilities, the hospital must grant the doctor the right to use the hospital this is known as granting staff privileges or credentialing. A hospital owes a duty to screen the competency of the doctors to which it grants privileges.
Additionally, the hospital must also terminate its relationship with a doctor if the hospital knows or should have known of issues with the doctor’s competency. If the hospital fails to properly screen its doctors or retains a doctor that the hospital knows or should have known to have competency issues and that failure caused the patient harm, then the hospital is negligent.
The jury is instructed on the issue as follows:
In determining whether a [physician] [ (other practitioner)] should be permitted to exercise clinical privileges as a member of the hospital staff, a hospital has a duty to exercise reasonable diligence in obtaining and acting upon information concerning the competence of [applicants to] [members of] its staff. A hospital that [grants clinical privileges to] [permits the continued exercise of clinical privileges by] an individual, when the hospital knew or reasonably should have known that the individual was not qualified to exercise those privileges with reasonable skill, is negligent.
Beyond employment, a hospital or other medical facility may be held responsible for its non-employee’s negligence if the hospital created the appearance that it was the provider of the medical services to the public. Generally speaking, the hospital will be held liable to the patient for the actions of its independently contracted doctors if the hospital—through its actions—created the impression to the public that the doctors were the agents of the hospital.
If you know of a situation where a hospital has been negligent due to credentialing doctors that do not have the competency to treat, you need to speak to a lawyer. If you have been injured by a doctor that is not credentialed you may have a malpractice case. For more information on negligent credentialing happening in hospitals feel free to call us at 505-242-7200 and we would be happy to discuss this matter with you.
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