Chicago Health Care partner Fatema Zanzi recently co-wrote an article published in Bloomberg BNA’s Health Law Reporter. The article was titled, “Hospital Must Report Voluntary Surrender of Privileges to the NPDB Notwithstanding Potential Invalidity of Underlying Action,” and was co-written with John J. D’Attomo of Nisen & Elliott, LLC.
The article discusses the recent Illinois appellate court ruling, Lai v. Gottlieb Mem’l Hospital, which recognized that the surrender of a practitioner’s privileges while under investigation must be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)—even if the investigation concludes no wrongdoing by the physician.
Fatema and John write, “The Gottlieb Memorial decision ultimately rests on principles of ‘federal preemption.’ The court held that the provisions of Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (HCQIA)—and the ensuing NPDB reporting requirements—preempt state law. ”
What constitutes an investigation is still highly debated, however. The April 2015 revised edition of the NPDB Guidebook broadens the definition and interprets it as not limited to a health care entity’s gathering of facts, but rather an “investigation” that runs from the start of an inquiry until a final decision has been reached.
Fatema and John conclude that the Gottlieb Memorial decision “is a reminder that hospital administrators must have a working knowledge of the rules governing NPDB reporting of adverse clinical privilege actions.” Subsequently, hospital administrators must also determine their obligation in reporting to state licensing authorities.