OCTOBER 1999 NEWSLETTER
Vol. 1 No. 1
This is the first of a series of newsletters describing medical staff
issues. Others will be at regular
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
As Chief of your Medical Staff you owe a fiduciary duty to obtain unbiased
legal opinions from your medical staff attorney.
If the hospital is paying YOUR attorney, there is a potential conflict of
interest especially in matters of the drafting or interpreting by-laws, rules
and regulations or policies as well as peer review matters.
The June 1999 AMA Board of Trustees Report 3-A-99 states that “the
medical staff maintain professional independence free from any interference
influenced by considerations that may conflict with optimum patient care.”
This means the medical staff should be the patient’s advocate and not
be under economic control. The report also states that “AMA policy H-235.992 strongly
recommends that hospital medical staffs retain their own attorneys so that the
medical staff will have its own legal advocates for guidance.”
A second opinion in Medicine is always welcomed.
The same should be true in Law. You or your Medical Executive Committee
have a duty to seek independent legal advice whenever you believe that there may
be a conflict of interest, either real or perceived.
This is especially true in those institutions that tell their medical
staffs which attorney firm they must use for all matters and those firms are
I have many years’ experience in Medical Staff issues.
As a physician I have been a hospital Medical Director, Chief of Surgery,
Executive Committee member, and Chairs of Peer Review and other Committees.
As an attorney I have put together medical
groups, performed employment and other contract interpretation and
negotiations as well as advised on peer review, ethics, and general medical staff issues.
My background includes writing by-laws, rules and regulations and policies
i.e. harassment. I have expertise
in peer review matters especially alternative dispute resolution and ethical
Please contact me if you and/or your medical staff have issues you wish me
to address in forthcoming newsletters or believe that I may be of assistance in
representing medical staff or individual practitioner issues or perspectives.
I am enclosing business and Rolodex cards and would be happy to discuss
with you my role as an INDEPENDENT
medical staff counsel.
DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the
author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article
constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel
before acting on any of the information presented.