Arkansas Supreme Court Upholds Lower Court’s Decision Rejecting Economic Credentialing for Staff Privileges

On September 30, 2010, the Arkansas Supreme Court held that Baptist Health, a private, charitable, nonprofit corporation, may not impose an Economic Conflict of Interest Policy (Policy). In this case, “the Policy mandates the denial of initial and renewed professional staff appointments or clinical privileges at any Baptist hospital to any practitioner who, directly or indirectly, acquires or holds an ownership interest in a competing hospital.” The Court held that this Policy’s “motive was to make patients choose between their doctors and Baptist” and agreed with the lower court that it was improper. Cecil B. Wilson, M.D., President of the American Medical Association, released a statement in which she stated the Court “preserve[d] the patient-physician relationship and promotes competition in Arkansas by permanently prohibiting an economic credentialing policy…” She continued to state that “the primary factor in credentialing physicians should be competency, not economic factors unrelated to quality.”

For more information, please contact Robert S. Iwrey, Esq. at (248) 996-8510 or (212) 734-0128 or Staff Privileging and Licensing Matters specialty page on the HLP website.