An article in the February issue of Healthcare Risk Management,Protect Peer Review Privileges, or Risk Serious Consequences,” discussed the importance of the hospital peer review privilege. Rivkin Radler’s Chris Kutner was quoted in the article.

Chris noted that the peer review privilege provides an opportunity for a completely candid evaluation. He added that it is important to balance the need for an expeditious investigation with the requirements of the peer review statutes. “Statutes affording privilege must be followed to the letter if the hospital will intend to use privilege as a shield,” Chris warned.

In discussing a case involving infant deaths at a hospital in Pennsylvania following an outbreak of adenovirus, Chris said, “There was certainly urgency to determine if a quality-of-care issue existed and to immediately remediate, but that could have been done after the formalities required to kick off the review were performed.” He added, “The lesson in these peer review cases is to follow the applicable statute, bylaw, or otherwise to the letter, or courts will be constrained [from] upholding the privilege.”

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