Opinion: Fair hearings often fail to live up to their name when hospitals try to suspend physicians

Suspension or termination from a medical staff is a permanent stain on a physician's record, which is why the law requires due process to uphold such an action.

Over the past five years, there has been an alarming trend in the United States health care system: an increase in the number of physicians in private practice whose medical staff privileges in hospitals have been suspended without proper due process.

Hospitals operate under certain accrediting agencies, most commonly The Joint Commission, which, along with state laws, require them to adopt medical staff bylaws that provide for a fair hearing process consistent with “due process” if they intend to take a negative action such as trying to limit or revoke a physician’s medical staff privileges. Due process requires that legal matters be resolved according to established rules and principles which, in the context of curtailing a physician’s privileges, includes a fair hearing.

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