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Florida Fourth DCA rules that hospital credentialing committee documents were immune from discovery under Fla. Stat. § 395.0193(8) regardless of their previous disclosure by hospital to third party outside credentialing committee

On June 2, 2021, in South Broward Hospital District v. Feldbaum No. 4D20-1972, the Florida Fourth DCA quashed a trial court order which had required a hospital to produce allegedly privileged documents to a vascular surgeon whose was suing the hospital for reinstatement of staff privileges after a suspension. The documents sought by the surgeon were (1) minutes of credentialing committees, recredentialing committees, Medical Executive Committee, and any other group relating to his suspension, (2) all correspondence between the committees or any third parties relating to the suspension, and (3) all communications between the hospital and t third party provider of a “fit for duty” program which the surgeon had attended. The trial court had found the documents sought to fall within the privilege categories delineated in Boca Raton Community Hospital v. Jones, 584 So. 2d 220 (Fla. 4th DCA 1991)], and the peer review and credentialing discovery immunity provisions in Fla. Stat. § 395.0193(8), but concluded that the hospital had waived the privilege as to certain documents by providing them to the “fit for duty” program and ordered production of (1) correspondence between the hospital and the surgeon, (2) the “fit for duty” program report along with peer review and credentialing documents provided to the fit for duty program, and (3) portions of the surgeon’s internal credentialing file. The Fourth DCA relied upon Hillsborough County Hospital Authority v. Lopez, 678 So. 2d 408 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996), in which the Second DCA held that § 395.0193(8) provides absolute immunity from discovery regardless of whether the privileged documents are disclosed to persons outside the credentialing committee.

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