Saturday, March 19, 2011

Texas Medical Association and Sham Peer Reviews

130.017     Physician Rights and Sham Peer Review:

The Texas Medical Association condemns “sham peer review” and manipulation of medical staff bylaws by hospitals attempting to silence physician concerns for access to quality care at hospitals and advocates against “sham peer review,” manipulation of medical staff bylaws and enforcement of such bylaws, and other tactics that chill or inhibit the ability of staff physicians to advocate for their patients (Res. 401-A-07).

The Texas Medical Association will (1) work to assure that accused physicians are granted reasonable rights and due process for peer review and quality assessment efforts;  (2) solicit member input and address issues related to misuse of peer review process or “disruptive physicians” policies by health care facilities or peer review entities; (3) work to educate and inform members about the potential misuse of peer review; and (4) work to end the use of “disruptive physicians” policies which are extended to non-patient care issues, such as economic credentialing, failure to support marketing or business plans of the hospital or health care facility, or are used as a recourse because the physician has raised serious quality or patient safety issues regarding the facility, and their practice (Res. 406-A-07).

State medical associations and professional societies representing physicians should take the lead in reforming the hospital peer review process to become fair and impartial. This is what patients expect. No patient wants to see his or her good doctor being eliminated by a flawed process.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A "pro-administration" doctor goes against an "elected" physician commissioner

I think I will deviate from my usual topics, since my Google radar screened a very odd letter article.  It is from the State of Washington.  The hospital, Valley Medical Center (VMC), is apparently discussing some sort of affiliation with the University of Washington Hospital.  VMC is a public hospital (that is, a government entity) which has a democratically-elected Board of Commissioners.  One result of the affiliation would be that a bigger governing body rendering the voices of the elected commissioners (including the one the hospital administration is afraid of) less significant.  Here is the link to the article:

Concerns about Valley Medical commissioner remain | Letter

The doctor (Terence Block) wrote:

"Sadly, elections sometimes are decided by sound bytes and political rants, rather than insight in to the persona and qualifications of the candidate."

"If the affiliation between UW Medicine and VMC comes to pass, the operations of VMC will be guided by five elected Commissioners, five people appointed by the UW in consultation with many of our elected political officials, and three representatives of the most prestigious Medical Center in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, this may dilute Aaron Heide’s influence on the affairs of Valley Medical Center. Judging by his behavior at board meetings these past 14 months, I think that may be a good result."

What?  Is it only my imagination?  Doctor Block indicates that, since the voters did not elect a commissioner that goes along with the hospital administration, the remedy is to add governing members who are not elected, to dilute the effect of that elected commissioner, and any others in the future that may be democratically-elected.  Looking further, I found an earlier letter written by Aaron Heide, which completes the picture:


Valley Medical commissioner concerned and calls for action regarding democratic process | Letter

I think this could be one more hospital on the radar screen to see if it targets "undesirable" doctors.