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What can a practice do when it loses privileges at a hospital system?

Medical practices depend on relationships with hospital systems. An abrupt end to privileges within a hospital can have a catastrophic impact on the group and the patients they serve. Unfortunately, these situations are not uncommon. Most recently, a group out of St. Louis found themselves in this situation. The cardiologists’ privileges at a local hospital were suddenly revoked.

The group estimates the hospital’s decision could have a negative impact on almost 35,000 patients, a combination of both specific patients and those who come for urgent or emergency care. The group believes the move is the result of competition in their area of practice.

These types of situations are not uncommon. What can a group do when they find themselves in a similar situation?

Step #1: Seek an injunction

The group can ask the court to step in. This could include a motion for a temporary restraining order or injunction. This court order would force the hospital to restore privileges. It is important to note that this restoration may only serve for a short period, while the case moves forward.

Step #2: Request an expedited discovery

You can consider filing a lawsuit against the hospital for rescinding privileges without proper notice. If so, it may be wise to request expedited discovery. This is especially useful in the event the court does not provide an injunction or temporary restraining order. An expedited discovery can speed up the process and shorten the time for a resolution — possibly leading to a reduction in the amount of time your group has to wait to get is privileges restored.

Step #3: Move forward with a lawsuit

Ideally, the first two steps will result in negotiations and possibly a favorable settlement. If not, a lawsuit can help hold the facility accountable and better ensure privileges are fully restored.

The group out of St. Louis was unable to get a restraining order or injunction, but the court provided for expedited discovery. They are currently moving forward with the lawsuit, seeking either restoration of privileges or $50 million in damages.