In Chudacoff vs. UniversityMedicalCenter of Southern Nevada, et al., the United States District Court for the District of Nevada granted partial summary judgment on behalf of Richard M. Chudacoff, M.D., enjoining University Medical Center from reporting Dr. Chudacoff to the National Practitioner Data Bank, and granted summary judgment on Dr. Chudacoff’s behalf denying immunity under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act to the hospital. The court concluded that the hospital’s suspension of Dr. Chudacoff without providing due process rights required by the medical staff bylaws violated Dr. Chudacoff’s due process rights. The court stated "The fatal flaw here is that the defendant’s suspended Chudacoff’s staff privileges before giving him any type of notice or opportunity to be heard with respect to that suspension . . . Chudacoff’s due process rights were violated by the timing of the MEC’s actions."
In addition to enjoining a Data Bank Report and denying HCQIA immunity, this court recognized that physicians’ clinical privileges are protected property interests under Nevada state law which would not be revoked without constitutionally sufficient due process. This is one of the few cases that recognizes medical staff membership and clinical privileges as a state protected property interest.
The court declined to issue an injunction reinstating Dr. Chudacoff because of its perception that the ongoing medical staff appeals process would be resolved in Dr. Chudacoff’s favor, but left that remedy as a future option.
This case is a perfect example of how physicians should deal with medical staff credentialing disputes that are conducted in flagrant violation of the medical staff bylaws.