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Kentucky Supreme Court Decision in Negligent Credentialing Case

November 2, 2017

On the heels of the Franklin Circuit Court’s decision in the medical review panel case, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued an opinion Nov. 2 in another case involving KMA.

In the case of Lake Cumberland Regional Medical Center v. Adams, plaintiffs alleged liability on the part of a hospital due to “negligent credentialing” of the physician involved in a malpractice action.  Kentucky only recently recognized “negligent credentialing” as a cause of action when the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled last year that this new cause of action could be brought against hospitals.  The case was appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court and KMA submitted an amicus brief to the Court arguing that this new cause of action should not be recognized.

Thursday’s Supreme Court’s opinion overturned the Kentucky Court of Appeals and refused to recognize “negligent credentialing” as a cause of action.  This is a victory for the health care community.  While at first blush the case appears to impact only hospitals, it could have had a very negative impact on physicians as well since hospitals, health plans and others could have adopted much more stringent criteria to credential physicians, making the credentialing process another significant barrier.  It would have also expanded liability in the state, something that KMA has opposed.

While KMA submitted a brief in the case, it should be noted that the American Medical Association Litigation Center also provided funding for KMA’s brief and we are grateful for their assistance.  KMA also worked with a coalition of groups through the Partnership for Commonsense Justice (PCJ), a group that has been extremely active over the past few years on issues such as this.

While that case has been resolved, KMA awaits the state’s decision about appealing the Franklin Circuit Court ruling in the medical review panel case. KMA will keep members apprised as more information is released, which should come sometime next week.

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