After a lengthy public dispute that drew industry attention to the respective rights of hospitals and medical staffs, 240-bed Community Memorial Hospital of San Buenaventura, Ventura, Calif., and its medical staff issued a one-paragraph news release announcing that they had resolved their differences.
Signed by the hospital's president, medical staff chief and board chairman, the release said, "The medical staff has full confidence in the board's leadership, and the board recognizes the medical staff's indispensable role in fulfilling (the hospital's) mission."
In a civil lawsuit filed in April 2003, members of the medical staff alleged that the board unfairly, and as a punishment for physicians' involvement in competing facilities, imposed a conflict-of-interest policy on the medical staff without its approval.
The agreement between the hospital and physicians puts in place a conflict-of-interest policy approved by the medical staff, said Lowell Brown, the hospital's attorney. The policy requires doctors to disclose potential conflicts and recuse themselves from voting or acting on related matters, said Brown, of the law firm Foley & Lardner.
A $250,000 fund, also a point of contention, will be used to defray the physicians' legal bills.
The dispute led to the resignation of the hospital's longtime executive director and eventually involved the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and California Medical Association.