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Zachary
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4007
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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i am trying to find out how "legal" it is to require board

Customer Question

i am trying to find out how "legal" it is to require board certification by physicians to practice in a given hospital. The "boards" are run by a for profit company, and it has taken me two years to even get a chance to take the oral boards. It seems like there is a monopoly and there is no counter balance to this company.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zachary replied 2 years ago.

Zachary D. Norris :

Hi,

Zachary D. Norris :

I'd be happy to answer your questions on this.

Zachary D. Norris :

You say that the hospital you are inquiring about is a for-profit hospital. Is it publicly funded in any way, or is it a private hospital?

Customer:
Customer:

the hospital is for profit, it does get public dollars


 

Customer:

the problem is i think , hillary clinton made some law regarding medicare reimbursements and that physicians at a given hospital need to be board certified in able to get the medicare reimbursements


 

Customer:

the problem is that board certification is through only ONE for profit private company


 

Zachary D. Norris :

OK. But, the hospital is not a "county hospital" or otherwise designated as the "public hospital" correct?

Customer:

correct

Zachary D. Norris :

And your problem is with the hospital only accepting the board certification process through the one private company that performs the certifications?

Customer:

currently its owned by UHS


 

Customer:

correct, there is only one place that you can go to get your board certification in general surgery

Zachary D. Norris :

I see. Let me take a look at the Washington State statute on board certification.

Customer:

the company is american board of surgery


 

Zachary D. Norris :

thank you. Give me a few minutes

Customer:

the certification has two parts


 

Zachary D. Norris :

I'm waiting for my legal research database to come up. In the meantime, I'll tell you that for this to be considered a monopoly, there has to be a artificial barrier to entry into the market to compete against the American Board of Surgery.\

Zachary D. Norris :

Generally, since these organizations are provided with certification from the American Medical Association, etc., the state licensing boards will generally defer certification tot he third party organization, like the American Board of Surgery.

Zachary D. Norris :

Monopolies are made illegal through the Sherman Anti-trust Act

Zachary D. Norris :

Unless you are a company that is attempting to enter into the market to compete and are being prevented from doing so because of the unfair tactics of the monopolizing company, you don't have standing to challenge the actions of the monopoly under the law.

Zachary D. Norris :

In this situation, the challenge must come through the US Department of Justice

Customer:

no, i am a surgeon

Customer:

my problem is that the hospital will take away my active priveledges if i am not board certified


 

Zachary D. Norris :

I see the problem, and the certification only comes through one company.

Customer:

Not all surgeons are board certified. Board certification is a voluntary process that demonstrates a surgeon's commitment to quality patient care. Board certification by the ABS recognizes individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge specifically in the area of general surgery and its related specialties. Board certification is different from possessing a medical license, which is required by law to practice medicine and is not specialty specific. this is what is on the american board of surgery website


 

Customer:

yes, they act like it is voluntary to take the boards


 

Zachary D. Norris :

I'm going to look at the statutes real fast and see if I can gain any insight for you.

Customer:

but it is not voluntary, it is forced, otherwise you lose your priveledges at the hospitals. and getting access to take the boards is very difficult, not to mention that i already work alot of hours


 

Zachary D. Norris :

I am not seeing anything in the rules that speak specifically to this subject. \

Zachary D. Norris :

However, I would say this as far as any legal action you might take

Zachary D. Norris :

Because the hospital is a private organization, it can set it standards however it wants to as to who it will allow to grant privileges to.

Zachary D. Norris :

Do you already have privileges granted to you, and they are not changing the standard and forcing you to seek board certification?

Customer:

i do have active privileges, and a new company has purchased the hospital and will change the requirements

Zachary D. Norris :

OK. You might have something. You need to gather the documentation where the hospital granted you privileges and any other employment agreement you have with the hospital.

Zachary D. Norris :

This could be a breach of contract claim based on those documents, wherein you argue that the conditions for your privileges cannot be changed after they have been granted, especially in an arbitrary manner.

Customer:

i am not employed, i am in solo practice, but the selling company recruited me to this hospital

Customer:

ok


 

Zachary D. Norris :

There is some kind of written agreement governing your grant of privileges I'm sure.

Zachary D. Norris :

These are the documents on which you would base the claim.

Customer:

the rules are based on the staff by laws


 

Customer:

the by laws state that as long as i am board eligible that i can maintain active privileges


 

Zachary D. Norris :

And now the new company is thinking of changing the by-laws, correct?

Customer:

the new company will change that to i have to have board certification within five years of finishing residency


 

Zachary D. Norris :

I think you have an argument that it cannot retroactively remove your privileges.

Zachary D. Norris :

But it is going to be a tough argument to make.

Zachary D. Norris :

You should gather other physicians in your same position and go find a local attorney who deals specifically with hospital law

Zachary D. Norris :

or who represents doctors.

Customer:

ok

Zachary D. Norris :

This is quite a complicated issue and will require some in depth legal analysis.

Zachary D. Norris :

I wish you the best of luck.

Zachary D. Norris :

Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer:

nope thanks


 

Customer:
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4007
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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