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Hospital Met Requirements

December 17, 1995

This is in response to your recent article on the Medical Board of California suing Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center and Western Medical Center ("Medical Board Sues Officials at Two Hospitals," Nov. 30, 1995).

What your article did not state was that the records to which the medical board has requested access are peer review records and as such, are protected by California Evidence Code 1157. The real issue in this case is that the medical board is attempting to accomplish in the courts what, to date, it has been unable to do in the state Legislature--that is, to gain access to peer review records. Choosing to notify the press of its legal action before hospital officials were even served with the lawsuit underscores the medical board's apparent intention to use this action as a way of pressing its point via the court of public opinion.

The fact is that Mission Hospital exceeded the medical board's own reporting requirements by immediately faxing notification of the incident in question to the medical board, rather than sending it within the usual 14-day reporting period. Furthermore, hospital officials met with medical board representatives to provide additional information on the incident in question.

Given that Mission Hospital has met and exceeded the medical board's own reporting requirements, we believe the hospital took timely, appropriate and decisive action regarding the physician and incident in question. We will also continue to provide the medical board with whatever information the law will allow in investigating instances of alleged physician misconduct.

REYNOLD R. WELCH

President/chief executive officer

Mission Hospital RMC

Mission Viejo

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