Know when to consult your attorney!
Having had a front row seat to thousands of peer review efforts, I can say with confidence that one of the most common and costly mistakes is failing to engage competent legal counsel until after preventable troubles arise. Not every peer review situation requires the assistance of an attorney. But sometimes, involving the right attorney at the right time can be invaluable. When should you consider engaging your attorney in a peer review matter? Here are my suggestions:
- Whenever there is internal disagreement on the best course forward that seems unresolvable.
- Whenever applicable peer review related laws aren’t clear.
- Whenever peer review has the potential to lead to corrective action.
- Whenever protecting confidential documents from discoverability is a challenge.
- Whenever the best way to apply your bylaws and/or policies is unclear.
- If any case under review has the potential to become the center of medical malpractice case.
- Periodically, to make sure your bylaws and policies not only fit with your organization’s needs and culture, but also to make sure they will withstand legal scrutiny.
- Whenever you aren’t sure!
Sometimes it makes no sense to fly solo. Doing so might save money in the sort-term, but the ultimate adverse impacts, including financial, can be immense. When in doubt, consult an attorney that has extensive experience and expertise with medical staff matters. In so doing, risks will be greatly reduced while maximizing the benefits of disciplined, high integrity peer review.