Health Care partner Michael Callahan was quoted throughout a Credentialing & Peer Review Legal Insider article about how hospitals can escape the negative effects of negligent credentialing. In regard to avoiding medical malpractice suits, Mike said, "Hospitals are obligated to do their due diligence, making sure they're asking the right questions, getting the right information, and following up when there are red flags when a physician applies for privileges." Mike goes on to list a number of things to watch for when credentialing, including gaps in a physician's resume, resignations, withdrawals of applications, reductions over the years in insurance coverage, a high incidence of malpractice suits, multiple National Practitioner Data Bank reports and returned inquiries from other hospitals with very limited information.
When looking at a pair of federal cases that have drawn attention due to negligent credentialing, Mike explained that it would be difficult for the individual physicians to be held independently responsible under a negligent credentialing theory. "In most jurisdictions, a medical staff member serves as an agent of the hospital. The medical staff itself is not an independent entity, and the physicians participating in the process, although may be acting in some individual capacity as a department chair or member of a committee, are still generally viewed as agents of the hospital." ("Avoid the Pitfalls of Negligent Credentialing," May 2015)