Joint Commission survey results might not be discoverable
Plaintiff attorneys often seek to discover the results of an accreditation or investigation survey of a healthcare facility, but this action isn’t always successful.
"One plaintiff went so far as to issue a subpoena to The Joint Commission, to compel the organization itself to come to court and produce the survey report of a defendant hospital," says Victoria L. Vance, JD, an attorney at Tucker Ellis in Cleveland, OH.
In that case, the trial court cited The Joint Commission president for contempt when he refused to turn over the survey results. "But that decision was reversed on appeal, with the appellate court declaring the survey results non-discoverable," says Vance.1
In several medical malpractice cases, the defense was able to successfully prevent the plaintiffs from gaining discovery of The Joint Commission’s survey report for a hospital. They did so, says Vance, "on the grounds that The Joint Commission survey and findings was the equivalent of a peer review report, intended to be kept strictly confidential."2,3
- Niven v. Siqueira, 109 Ill 2d 357 (1985).
- Hofflander w. St. Catherine’s Hospital, Inc., 262 Wis 2d 536 (2003).
- Variety Children’s Hospital v. Mishler, 670 So. 2d 184 Fla App 3 Dist (1996).