Physicians File Lawsuit Challenging Peer Review Process of Discipline
On Monday, attorneys for two California physicians filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging a process used by hospitals in the state to review complaints against physicians, the Modesto Bee reports.
Attorneys filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco for a kidney specialist -- Mark Fahlen, who worked in Modesto at Memorial Medical Center, operated by Sutter Health -- and a perinatologist -- Hamid Safari, who worked at Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center.
Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Central Valley hospitals are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Between 2003 and 2008, Fahlen alleged that nurses ignored or refused to comply with orders.
In August 2008, a hospital executive committee recommended the termination of Fahlen's privileges after nurses alleged his actions were confrontational and interfered with patient care. Fahlen appealed to a hospital-appointed review panel, which recommended that Fahlen keep his privileges.
Meanwhile, the California Medical Board in 2007 accused Safari of gross negligence in the deaths of two infant patients. Two years later, a state administrative law judge found thatÂ Safari complied with standards of care and was not at fault in the deaths.
The lawsuit states that Sutter terminatedÂ Fahlen's privileges in January without proper cause and that Kaiser has not allowed Safari to work at its facilities.
The lawsuit also claims that California's medical peer review process violates federal due process laws and thereby violates physicians' civil rights.
Stephen Schear, an attorney representing the physicians, said the state has delegated peer review authority to health care organizations and has allowed them to circumvent due process (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 11/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.