Hospitals Immune from Civil Liability under Professional Reporting Act
A New Jersey appellate division court has found a hospital immune from civil liability under the New Jersey Healthcare Professional Responsibility & Reporting Enhancement Act, N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.2a, et seq. in Senisch v. Carlino. The “Cullen Act” was passed in response to the murder of terminally ill patients by Charles Cullen, a registered nurse, in healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The act requires healthcare facilities to truthfully provide information about a former employee’s job performance as it relates to patient care and the reason for separation. At issue was whether the hospital had provided negative information about a former employee’s job performance as it related to patient care in good faith, without malice, to another inquiring healthcare facility in order to be entitled to immunity under the act. The case involved a formerly employed physician assistant.
The Professional Responsibility & Reporting Enhancement Act applies to physicians. Physicians should be aware of and address any negative information that may be contained in the files of healthcare facilities in which they work.