PA Supreme Court Rules that Peer Review Activities of a Credentialing Committee are Protected under the Peer Review Protection Act

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2021

In a significant victory for healthcare providers, the PA Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court’s ruling in the case of Leadbitter v. Keystone Anesthesia Consultants, LTD., et al, by holding that peer review activities of a credentialing committee are protected under the state’s Peer Review Protection Act.  In addition, the Supreme Court held that information from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) to queries submitted to it is afforded protection under federal law.  PAMED, in collaboration with the AMA, filed an amicus brief in this case.

Specifically, the Court held:

(1) a hospital’s credentials committee qualifies as a “review committee” for purposes of Section 4 of the Peer Review Protection Act to the extent it undertakes peer review; and

(2) the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act protects from disclosure the responses given by the National Practitioner Data Bank to queries submitted to it – and this protection exists regardless of any contrary aspect of state law.

This is an important victory for organized medicine, as the Court focused on what activities a committee was performing as opposed to the name of the committee.  While this ruling does not overturn the Court’s decision in Reginelli v. Boggs, it does clarify when the activities of a credentialing committee are afforded peer review protection.  It is recommended that physicians engaged in peer review activities consult with their health systems’ attorneys regarding how this case will impact peer review activities of health systems, hospitals, and other providers.

A copy of the Court’s majority opinion may be accessed here.

A copy of the Court’s concurring opinion may be accessed here.

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