Friday, June 19, 2015

Notable Ruling on Discoverability of Sentinel Event Reports Reconsidered

Tort Talkers may recall the recent Tort Talk blog post on Lackawanna County Judge Terrence R. Nealon’s decision in the case of Brink v. Marian Community Hospital, No. 13 - CV - 1314 (C.P. Lacka. Co. June 5, 2015 Nealon, J.), in which the court held that a Sentinel Event Report sent by the hospital to the Joint Commission was discoverable and not protected by the Peer Review Protection Act.  That Tort Talk Blog post may be viewed HERE

As an update, it is noted that the court has reconsidered its prior ruling in light of additional information having been provided by the defense such that ruling has been changed to note that the Sentinel Event Report was not discoverable under the circumstances presented.

More specifically, according to the latest ruling, defense counsel did not provide the court with the hospital's sentinel event reporting policies before.  Also, the original record submitted to the court did not prove that the Sentinel Event Report to the Joint Commission was part of a peer review process, as opposed to a voluntary report of an incident to an accreditation organization. 

The motion for reconsideration submitted by the defense provided to the court new information in the form of the hospital policies showing that the report at issue was a root cause analysis of system deficiencies, as well as an action plan recommending remedial measures, and was part of a peer review process, as opposed to a mere voluntary report of an incident. 

Accordingly, the Sentinel Event Report at issue was found to be protected from discovery under this more developed record presented to the court.

Anyone wishing to review this decision, may click this LINK.

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