In a recent discovery order of The United States District Court, the Southern District of Texas confirms the relevance and discoverability of patient records in credentialing disputes involving comparative peer review, i.e., the peer review disputes where the penalties imposed one physician are dissimilar or unequal to those imposed on others.
In Royal Benson, M.D. v. St. Joseph Regional Health Center, the District Court ordered the production of approximately 1300 patient charts, but divided the cost among the physician and the hospital to prevent undue hardship. Statements of the Court clearly indicate the importance of reviewing the peer review done upon other physicians in these disputes.
- "The Court has previously recognized that patient charts underlying physician peer review are relevant and necessary to plaintiff’s comparison of defendant’s peer review treatment of Dr. Benson to that of other physicians".
- "Plaintiff should be able to conduct a reasonable analysis and compare Dr. Benson’s peer review treatment to that of other physicians with a representative sample of patient’s charts from each of the other peer reviewed physicians".