Most physicians prefer the operating room to the courtroom. But there are times when health care providers must litigate to protect their rights. A common example of this is the peer review and credentialing process. In theory, these are tools intended to maintain high professional standards. But in practice, as too many doctors have learned, credentialing can be a sham that really serves to protect a hospital’s bottom line.
Sham peer review is not simply unethical. It is illegal. [BC1] At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., our experienced litigation attorneys focus on antitrust violations in health care. Specifically, we can assist victims of improper peer review and credentialing processes seek remedies in the courts.
Is Your “Peer Review” Actually Retaliation?
Peer review must strike a delicate balance. On the one hand, physicians are colleagues who all strive to do right by the patient. But on the other hand, individual physicians in the same specialty and geographic area may be direct competitors. These competitors can hold their thumbs on the scale of peer review, unfairly influencing the outcome against a particular physician.
The antitrust laws may condemn a sham peer review as a “group boycott” under a number of circumstances. For example, if the peer review itself deviates from the written bylaws or guidelines adopted by the reviewing body, that can demonstrate to a judge and jury that the whole thing was a sham. Similarly, if a physician’s competitors participated in the final peer review decision, that may give rise to the inference of a “group boycott,” which is prohibited by the Sherman Antitrust Act and other state and federal antitrust laws.
Sham peer review may also simply be a form of retaliation. Perhaps you have uncovered inappropriate or unethical conduct within a practice group. Rather than acknowledging and addressing wrongdoing, the group turns its ire against you. This is no more justified than if the group punished you for competing against them. Such actions are wrong–and you have every right to challenge such behavior in court.
Speak With a Litigation Attorney Right Away
Many doctors are understandably leery of litigation. But when it comes to fighting allegations that may conceivably destroy your career and livelihood, your only option may be to sue. At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., we make every effort to help you understand the legal process. We can advise you before, during, and after the actual peer review. And if it becomes necessary, we can prepare to fight the process in court.
If you have any reason to believe that peer review is being misused against you, do not wait to take action. You need to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., today at (312) 624-7642 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.