A hospital’s executive and officers liability insurance usually will apply to peer review committee members. There also are protections under federal law providing immunity for participation, particularly the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act. There are state-level statutes to provide immunity, although those laws vary widely.
Well-run peer review committees are essential to maintaining high-quality performance for physicians and nurses, but recruiting for those committees can be challenging. Physicians and nurses may resist the time commitment or fear legal and professional repercussions from passing judgment on their peers. Those fears can be dispelled by educating physicians and nurses about the peer review process. Savvy recruiting techniques can help create effective peer review committees.
Most states offer legal protection to peer review records to encourage the free exchange of information necessary for assessing and improving clinician performance. However, that protection can be limited, and missteps can make that data available to plaintiff attorneys.