Florida Supreme Court finds hospital law unconstitutional

Accreditation Connection, September 8, 2008

In a historic case, the Florida Supreme Court has deemed that hospitals must ensure medical staff bylaws are followed, according to a press release issued by the American Medical Association.

The case, Lawnwood Medical Center v. Lawnwood Medical Staff, explored the role and responsibilities of the medical staff compared to the hospital's governing board's. The ruling overturned a previous state ruling, the "St. Lucie County Hospital Governance Law," which allowed hospital board policy to "unilaterally supersede" medical staff bylaws in certain conflicts, including quality issues, according to the AMA, which supports the new ruling.

"The Lawnwood case is an important court victory, which will prevent hospitals from encroaching on medical staff autonomy and becoming embroiled in a legal turf war over the division of responsibilities within the hospital," said AMA board member Cecil Wilson, MD.

To read the press release, click here.


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