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Florida Chapter ACP Services, Inc.
Peer Review Privilege Further Eroded
Christopher L. Nuland, Esq.
General Counsel

In The Courts

Florida's peer review privilege, already damaged by Amendment 7 allowing patients to access peer review records regarding adverse incidents involving their providers, has taken another huge hit.

In Doe v. Department of Health (Case 2D06-1273), the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that the protections of F.S. 766.101 do not prevent the Department of Health from obtaining peer review documents during its investigation of physicians. While the Court emphasized that such records could not be released to the public, it specifically held that the Department could use such records in a physician disciplinary proceeding.

The result of this case is devastating to the alleged peer review privilege. Physicians and hospitals must now conclude that all peer review documents will be available to patients under Amendment 7 and to the Department under this new ruling. While the peer review participants (other than the subject of the complaint) remain protected, physicians should be cognizant that they will not be protected by the purported peer review privilege.

Page updated: 1/19/07