Appeals court: Physician should have exhausted all options in Lawnwood Medical Center reappointment

By Charmaine Little | Jun 9, 2017

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — A physician in Florida has fought a hospital’s decision not to reappoint him based on the fourth district court of appeals May 31 opinion.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — A physician in Florida has fought a hospital’s decision not to reappoint him, according to an opinion from the 4th District Court of Appeal. 

Dr. Anil Desai filed an appeal against Lawnwood Medical Center after a trial court dismissed his case because he did not “exhaust administrative remedies” after the hospital board of directors decided not to reappoint him. 

Desai is one of many doctors who must apply with reappointment for the hospital every two years. But the legal issues started when he was denied by the board of directors after the medical executive committee passed his application through. Desai was allegedly told what he could do for the board’s “fair hearing procedures,” but he allegedly did not want to follow those options.

The board is required to offer fair hearing procedures to review procedures for candidates like Desai who are not granted appointments, according to court records.

Instead, he filed a complaint against the hospital. Because the doctor didn’t exhaust all of his options, the trial court dismissed the case. He then appealed the lower court’s decision. 

In his appeal, Desai argued that he had a right to state his case before the court. He also said that the “fair hearing procedures” did not apply to him. He said that because the hospital is a private establishment, it cannot enforce administrative solutions like fair hearing procedures.

The appeals court agreed with Desai that he has right to file a complaint, but only after he exhausts all of his options, which both courts argue he did not do. As for whether medical bylaws apply to him, the appeals court said the “fair hearing procedures” were put in place more than two years before his application for reappointment. The bylaws do not have an evaluation process in place for when the board does not grant a reappointment for a doctor. Subsequently, the fair hearing procedures don’t change the rules, but rather protect ones that aren’t covered in the bylaws. 

The court also dismissed the doctor’s argument about the hospital being a private establishment.

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