Termination of Employment: Impact on Medical Staff Privileges
For hospital employees and most hospital-based physicians, termination of your employment agreement, whether for cause or without cause, may be automatic grounds for termination of your staff privileges. In such case, your due process rights under the medical staff bylaws (as it relates to your staff privileges) are waived and you will not be afforded the fair hearing and appeal procedure typically available to office-based physicians on the hospital’s medical staff.
Explore This IssueOctober 2013
Also, your employment agreement may contractually require you to resign from the hospital’s medical staff upon termination of the employment relationship:
“Physician covenants and agrees that upon termination of Physician’s employment with Employer (whether for cause or without cause), Physician will resign from the medical staff of Hospital X thereby relinquishing any right to due process pursuant to the medical staff bylaws.”
Some employment agreements may go even further and prohibit you from re-applying for medical staff privileges at that hospital for a stated period of time:
“Physician further agrees that Physician shall not re-apply for medical staff privileges at Hospital X within two (2) years following the later of the termination of Physician’s employment or the effective date of termination of such medical staff privileges at Hospital X.”
The bottom line is, don’t forget about the hospital’s medical staff bylaws when entertaining an employment relationship with a hospital or private practice. The hospital’s medical staff bylaws should be reviewed in conjunction with the employment agreement.
Steven M. Harris, Esq., is a nationally recognized health care attorney and a member of the law firm McDonald Hopkins, LLC. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with permission from the American College of Rheumatology.