Thursday, June 11, 2009

Georgia High Court Rules Routine Credentialing Information Discoverable

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that "routine credentialing information" is not protected from discovery under state medical and peer review laws unless the information contains a peer review evaluation of actual medical services provided.

The ruling stems from a medical malpractice suit by Thurman Meeks against the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County and Dr. Terry Tri. Meeks alleged that the hospital was negligent in credentialing Tri to perform the surgery that preceded his wife's death.

The Court affirmed a decision at the appellate level, which ruled that statutory privileges only protect evaluations by a peer review committee regarding a provider's performance to gauge his or her ability to provide quality care. The privilege does not extend to "routine credentialing information," which includes the provider's education, training, and employment history.

The Court clarified that this rule would apply even to hospitals that delegate full review of the credentialing file to a peer review committee. Applying the privilege to routine credentialing information just because it is peer reviewed in this instance, says the Court, would be unfairly prejudicial to those seeking to file negligent credentialing claims.

The Court's full opinion can be found here:

Source: BNA

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