Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Higher Standard of Review for Peer Review Malice Recognized by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it will not review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which held that "clear and convincing evidence" is required to prove malice of peer reviewers seeking immunity under the Texas Medical Practice Act (TMPA).

The Court accepted the Fifth Circuit's standard after Dr. Royal Benson had argued that a "preponderance of the evidence" standard should be met, which is a lower standard of proof. Dr. Benson claimed that St. Joseph Regional Medical Center and members of its peer review committee should not be granted immunity under TMPA because the statute bars immunity if it can be proven that decisions were made with malicious intent.

Dr. Benson was denied reappointment by the peer review committee. He also alleged that the denial of privileges was a violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act because it caused injury to competition. The Fifth Circuit dismissed this claim.

Source: BNA

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