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Hospitals need policy when responding to competency issues

Most hospitals eventually encounter a situation in which a physician with staff privileges appears to have inadequate clinical competence. Sometimes this is a result of diminishing skills due to age or illness. It can also be the result of poor training or the practitioner's failure to keep current on developments in his or her specialty. Hospitals rarely have a policy for handling these issues in their bylaws, except in cases in which the problem poses a threat to patient care and triggers a suspension of privileges and the accompanying due process procedures.