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Hospitals Responsible for Physicians' Bad Behavior

Liz Jones for HealthLeaders Media, October 20, 2010

It's also wise to provide training to employees and nonemployees to ensure they understand that poor behavior is unacceptable. If a harassment or discrimination claim makes it to court, the hospital will need to demonstrate that it had policies in place and that it presented training opportunities for all employees and independent physicians, says McAuliffe Miller.

Be sure that your policies protect the person who complained from retaliation by the physician. Retaliation is just as serious an issue as the original discrimination or harassment, says McAuliffe Miller. Retaliation often occurs even if the hospital and medical staff determine that the employee's original complaint did not constitute harassment or discriminatory behavior on the physician's part.

The hospital must also be careful to document and prove that any actions it takes against that employee, such as demotion or relocation, are related to that employee's performance. Otherwise, the employee may mistake that action as retaliation.

Liz Jones is an associate editor at HCPro, Inc. She writes Medical Staff Briefing and co-writes Credentialing & Peer Review Legal Insider. She can be reached at

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