Burroughs also suggests that hospitals join or create a patient safety organization under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA). Under this act, peer review documentation that is reported to a patient safety organization is considered patient safety work product and is not discoverable or permissible at a fair hearing or in a court of law.
Although this is a reasonable strategy for protecting peer review documents, Burroughs warns that if the hospital thinks that it may take action against a physician, it can’t use patient safety work product that has already been reported to a patient safety organization against the physician during the fair hearing. “I always tell clients that they have to consider whether they are going to take professional review action at some point. If they do, they should keep the body of evidence.”
Indest adds that taking advantage of the provisions under PSQIA is a smart idea. “A federal privilege will, in most cases, take precedence over any conflicting state law—including this one.”
Liz Jones is an associate editor with HCPro. She writes Medical Staff Briefing, Hospitalist Leadership Advisor, and Credentialing & Peer Review Legal Insider. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org