Virginia: Medical Malpractice – A Lawyer’s Arlington

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On November 21, 2016, Arlington Circuit Court rejected Defendant’s claim of statutory privilege and found hospital policies and procedures to be discoverable in Rivera v. Virginia Hosp. Ctr. Arlington Health Sys. d/b/a Virginia Hosp. Ctr., No. CL16000142-00. “It is commonly understood when analyzing a statute that the unambiguous language of a statute is not subject to further interpretation,” and that “it is clear to the Court that the General Assembly in [Va.Code §8.01-581.17 (B)] was attempting to limit the application of this privilege in a way to protect the work of a committee which evaluates quality assurance, quality of care and does peer review.” Id. at 2.

Rivera delineated: “The way a committee operates, the material it evaluates, the recommendations it makes and anything of that nature connected to the work of the committee is protected.” Id. “It is clear that these policies and procedures are stand-alone findings and decisions.” Id. at 3.

“Had the General Assembly intended to limit or protect from discovery the policies and procedures of individual hospitals or medical practices, it certainly could have included this within the privilege.” Id. Rivera is particularly significant because it from Arlington, one of the dwindling jurisdictions cited by the defense.