Medical Staff Regains its Independence from Hospital Board
The Medical Staff organization at California’s Tulare Regional Medical Center (TRMC) was dissolved in January 2016 when the hospital’s board of directors terminated the elected medical staff officers. The board then installed its own slate of appointed officers and approved new medical staff bylaws and rules without notice to the staff.
The terminated staff sued under the Ralph M. Brown Act that govern open meetings for local government bodies, the Medical Practices Act and Health and Safety Code violations. In July 2018, the medical staff and hospital reached a favorable agreement. The settlement reinstates—with all of its rights, privileges and status—the organized medical staff that was fired and replaced. The physician-patient relationship and medical staff’s responsibility for medical decision making and peer review are shielded from interference. The agreement also requires the defendants to pay $300,000 for the medical staff’s attorneys’ fees and costs. In addition, the hospital cannot challenge or appeal the settlement’s validity.
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