Bissada v. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (the “Hospital”) presents an atypical peer review case. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment entered on behalf of the Hospital by the District Court on the basis of the existence of a Settlement Agreement, instead of relying upon the usual HCQIA peer review immunity protections. 

Dr. Bissada practiced at the Hospital. The facts of the case reveal a typical series of event, i.e. a complaint by member of the staff, an investigation by the relevant medical staff committees, and a revocation of clinical privileges by the Hospital medical staff governance and governing board.

The term of Dr. Bissada’s medical staff membership and clinical privileges overlapped the time period for the investigation, so Dr. Bissada’s medical staff membership and clinical privileges were extended for the duration of the proceedings. On the weekend before the Monday on which Dr. Bissada’s first medical staff hearing would be held, counsel for Dr. Bissada e-mailed the Hospital and advised them that Dr. Bissada would agree to resign immediately and the e-mail also agreed upon the language of the report to the National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”). 

Almost immediately the following week, but not before the Hospital had submitted the NPDB report, Dr. Bissada attempted to withdraw his consent to the Settlement Agreement, but the Hospital rejected Dr. Bissada’s request on the basis that the Agreement had been made and the NPDB report was submitted already. Dr. Bissada filed an initial action for an injunction, which was later amended to include various claims of employment discrimination, and a trust violation, defamation, and tortious interference. 

Summary judgment was entered and affirmed on the basis that Dr. Bissada had suffered no injury, given the fact that he had agreed to the handling of his case.