Health Law Alert: SPECIAL FOCUS: WHITE COLLAR: Failure to Investigate - A Trap for Complacent Board Members

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You are a hospital CEO, spending a quiet afternoon in your office when a disgruntled member of a local medical practice barges in and begins complaining that he is being treated unfairly. He tells you that he is not getting the same amount of time in the Cardiac Cath Lab as other physicians, that another physician got a better sign-on bonus than he did, and that the space that he rents from the hospital is smaller than a neighboring practice's space. Inwardly, you sigh, while outwardly you listen attentively. In the back of your mind you are hoping that maybe this will all blow over by next week. However, because you are conscientious, you report "Dr. Smith's" complaint to the Board of Directors at their next meeting. Together, you and the Board discuss whether and how to investigate his complaint. Everyone hopes that Dr. Smith will let things go. The allegations are meritless. He is just unhappy. Other matters rise to the Board's attention and weeks later, Dr. Smith's complaints remain largely ignored.

What potential jeopardy does the Board face by the organization's failure to investigate? Ignoring complaints can create a trap for unwary board members and executives. What if Dr. Smith has really identified a Stark problem?

Please see full alert below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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