October 24, 2018, Great Neck, NY — Law firm Garfunkel Wild successfully represented NYC Health + Hospitals in a lawsuit brought by a neurosurgeon who was denied privileges at Lincoln Hospital and Mental Health Center (which now operates as NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln).
After Lincoln denied the neurosurgeon’s application for clinical privileges based on two negative references that were received from out of state facilities, he filed an administrative grievance with the New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council (the Council).
The Council ruled in the physician’s favor but made no findings of fact and gave no reasons for its ruling.
The neurosurgeon sued for damages and an injunction to obtain privileges. The trial court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the damages claim but denied their motion to dismiss the injunction claim.
The Appellate Division for the First Department unanimously reversed and dismissed the suit.
The Court found that the decision to deny privileges was made in good faith and on reasonable grounds, as it was based on admissible evidence of the neurosurgeon’s poor interpersonal skills and difficulties in working with subordinates, which are reasonably related to the statutory factors of “patient care, patient welfare, the objectives of the institution or the character or competency of the applicant.”
The Court also held that the Council’s ruling carried no weight as it made no factual findings.
“This is an important ruling for hospitals in New York and elsewhere,” said Len Rosenberg. “It clarifies that interpersonal skills and professionalism are important factors that hospitals may lawfully consider during the credentialing process.”
The decision, Karim v Raju, can be found here.
Garfunkel Wild serves the diverse legal needs of the health care industry. For nearly 40 years, GW has represented hospitals, health systems, physicians, long term care facilities and many others in the areas of transactions, finance, litigation, information technology, managed care, credentialing, regulatory, employment law, professional licensing, compliance, real estate, bankruptcy, and trusts and estates.
GW has over 80 attorneys and maintains offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The firm’s healthcare practice and lawyers are ranked in Chambers USA. For more information, visit https://www.garfunkelwild.com/.