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April 2014

Congress Saved Peer ReviewWho Knew?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Florida Coastal School of Law, Jacksonville, Florida
JAMA Surg. 2014;149(4):317-318. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.3668

Two decades ago, most physicians felt secure knowing that “peer review actions always have enjoyed confidentiality under the law.”1 However, the confidentiality—and the corresponding legal protection of privilege—afforded the medical peer review process eroded significantly over the last 20 years, with federal courts and nearly all states severely restricting the inviolability traditionally afforded this essential component of ensuring quality medical care is provided by competent physicians. But Congress may have saved peer review from its slow yet steady decline via a provision contained within the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act.

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