Schueller v. Goddard is a fairly typical hospital staffing scenario. Dr. Schueller was an independent contractor with an emergency services group, which in turn had an exclusive service contract with Drew Memorial Hospital in Arkansas. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a grant of summary judgment by the District Court in favor of the hospital and the other defendants.
Dr. Schueller asserted that his removal violated his due process rights and his right of a “business expectancy.” The contracts involved, i.e. Dr. Schueller’s independent contractor agreement with the emergency group and the exclusive service agreement with the hospital, both made it clear that Dr. Schueller’s independent contractor agreement could be terminated at any time without cause, and that the hospital could require the emergency group to remove any physician from service at the hospital at any time in its sole discretion. Provisions such as this are typical to avoid the medical staff hearing process usually associated with termination of medical staff membership or clinical privileges.
The case does not address Dr. Schueller’s clinical privileges or medical staff membership. Another typical provision in agreements of this sort is the “Clean Sweep” provision, which provides that physicians who are contractually removed from groups with exclusive service agreements with the hospitals automatically lose their medical staff membership and clinical privileges without any due process rights.