Friday, February 27, 2009

Wisconsin Hospital May Be Liable for Delaying Credentialing of Osteopathic Physician

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has determined that osteopathic physician Dr. James Merrill may have a claim against Agnesian Healthcare, Inc. for constructively denying him privileges by failing to processing his credentialing application in a timely manner.

At trial, the Court will determine whether or not Agnesian violated a Wisconsin statute requiring equal opportunity for osteopathic physicians in obtaining staff privileges.

Merrill is an OB/GYN who received a job offer from a medical group that was contingent upon the receipt of privileges at St. Agnes Hospital, which is operated by Agnesian. Merrill was told that he failed to meet the certification requirements of the OB/GYN department. Merrill is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ABOG), not the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Merrill was advised by the chief of the medical staff to withdraw his application since a rejected application could show up negatively on an NPDB report. Soon after, he was informed that the department would accept ABOG certification, but by the time his credentials were approved, his job offer was rescinded.

Agnesian requested that the Court dismiss the case, claiming that Merrill could not provide sufficient evidence to a jury to bring forth a possible discrimination case. The Court denied Agnesian's request.

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