As statutorily intended and judicially recognized, a negligent credentialing claim Is a medical claim
This article was originally published in the Winter 2017 OACTA Quarterly Review.
“Medical claims,” as that term is defined in R.C. § 2305.113(E)(3), are distinct from other tort claims and are treated differently under Ohio law and court rules. For example, Ohio Civil Rule 10(D)(2) requires Plaintiffs to file Affidavits of Merit with their medical claims. Medical claims are also governed by a special statute of limitations of one year under R.C. § 2305.113(A) and a four-year statute of repose under R.C. § 2305.113(C). Further, a cap on non-economic damages exists under R.C. § 2323.43(A)(2). Thus whether a tort claim is a medical claim under Ohio law in large part dictates how the claim is litigated.
Approximately 23 years ago, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that a negligent credentialing claim was not a medical claim in Browning v. Burt, 66 Ohio St. 3d 544, 563, 1993- Ohio-178, 613 N.E.2d 993, based upon the definition of a medical claim that existed at that time. The legislature has expanded the statute twice since Browning, giving us the following version of R.C. § 2305.113(E)(3) as it relates to negligent credentialing:
(3) “Medical claim” means any claim that is asserted in any civil action against a physician, hospital, home, or residential facility, against any employee or agent of a physician, podiatrist, hospital, home, or residential facility, or against a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse, physical therapist, physician assistant, emergency medical technician-basic, emergency medical technician-intermediate, or emergency medical technician-paramedic, and that arises out of the medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of any person. “Medical claim” includes the following:
(b) Claims that arise out of the plan of care, medical diagnosis, or treatment of any person and to which either of the following applies:
(i) The claim results from acts or omissions in providing medical care.
(ii) The claim results from the hiring, training, supervision, retention, or termination of caregivers providing medical diagnosis, care, or treatment. (Emphasis added.)
When the General Assembly defined medical claims broadly to include claims brought against a hospital for negligent credentialing, it statutorily overruled the conclusion reached by the Supreme Court in Browning that a negligent credentialing claim was not a medical claim. The First District Court of Appeals recently interpreted the current language of R.C. § 2305.113(E)(3) in Young v. UC Health, West Chester Hosp., LLC, 2016-Ohio-5526, 61 N.E.3d 34 (1st Dist.). In so doing, the First District recognized that a negligent credentialing claim is a medical claim as that term is presently defined in R.C. § 2305.113(E)(3).
In Young, the First District had to determine, among other things, whether the four-year statute of repose in R.C. § 2305.113(C) applies to a negligent credentialing claim. To rule on that issue, the Court of Appeals necessarily had to decide whether a negligent credentialing claim is a medical claim. Guided by the current definition of a medical claim in R.C. § 2305.113(E)(3), the Court of Appeals held that
[T]he Youngs’ claim for negligent credentialing and retention is a medical claim because it results from the “hiring, training, supervision, retention, or termination of caregivers providing medical diagnosis, care, or treatment.” R.C. § 2305.113(E)(3)(b)(ii).
Thus based upon the plain language in the present version of the statute, the Court of Appeals recognized that a negligent credentialing claim is indeed a medical claim to which the four-year statute of repose applies.
Although the overarching issue in Young was the application of the statute of repose, the First District’s underlying recognition that a negligent credentialing claim is a medical claim has much broader implications regarding how the claim is litigated. This case supports the proposition that all Ohio civil rules, evidentiary rules, and statutes applicable to medical claims also apply to negligent credentialing claims as legislatively intended.Download PDF