The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of Mileikowsky vs. West Hills Hospital and Medical Center. The question to be heard on appeal is:
“Does the presiding officer in a medical review proceeding have the authority to terminate the hearing as a sanction for a party’s failure to cooperate in discovery, or must that decision be made by the hearing committee in power to decide the case on the merits?”
During medical staff proceedings, in which Dr. Mileikowsky was appealing the hospital’s denial of clinical privileges, the hearing officer terminated the medical staff proceeding on grounds that Dr. Mileikowsky essentially failed to cooperate during the proceedings. The termination effectively affirmed the hospital’s denial of Dr. Mileikowsky’s application, which result was affirmed by the hospital’s governing board.
Dr. Mileikowsky filed a state proceeding known as a petition for a writ of mandate, challenging the hospital board’s decision. The trial court denied the petition, again effectively affirming the denial of Dr. Mileikowsky’s application. However, on appeal, the state appellate court held that the hearing officer had exceeded his statutory authority in California and ordered a new medical staff hearing. The hospital has appealed this decision to the California Supreme Court.
This case was the subject of a Med Law Blog post on September 20, 2007.