Illinois court sides with medical staff lawyers
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 6, 2005
An Illinois hospital can't dismiss physicians from its staff for carrying the level of medical liability insurance required under medical staff bylaws, even if that amount is lower than hospital policy requires, an Illinois state court ruled in May.
Associate Circuit Judge James K. Borbely in Vermilion County (Ill.) Circuit Court said the Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville, Ill., had to abide by the hospital staff bylaws that require physicians to carry limits of $200,000 per incident and $600,000 aggregate annually. The hospital changed its policy to require physicians to carry a $1 million/$3 million insurance limit, but the hospital medical staff never agreed to change its bylaws.
After hospital officials told physicians that they needed to carry the higher limit to remain on staff, physicians challenged the hospital in court last year. Physicians said that in addition to violating the bylaws, maintaining higher insurance limits was cost prohibitive because of recent rate spikes. Illinois is one of 20 states the AMA lists as being in a medical liability insurance crisis.
At press time, the hospital planned to appeal the court's ruling.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/06/06/prbf0606.htm.