There are two circumstances in which temporary privileges may be granted.  Each circumstance has different criteria for granting privileges.  The acceptable circumstances for which granting temporary privileges include:

1. To fulfill an important patient care, treatment, and service need, or

2. An applicant for new privileges with a complete application that raises no concerns is awaiting review and approval by the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) and the governing body.

The medical staff bylaws must include a description of the privileging process including temporary and disaster privileges.  The description of temporary privileges would need to include the elements of performance outlined for the two acceptable reasons, i.e., important patient care needs and new applicant temporary privileges.  

New applicant temporary privileges are granted when the applicant is awaiting review and approval by the organized medical staff, or if delegated to the MEC, etc.  Temporary privileges for applicants for new privileges are granted for no more than 120 days.

The second, and most common reason for use of temporary privileges is to meet an important patient care need.  The need must be documented in the credentials file at the time privileges are granted.  It typically appears as a recommendation from the medical staff president or designee to the CEO who grants the privileges.  It could also appear in a statement by the CEO as to the reason for granting the temporary privileges.

Examples of important patient care needs may include, but are not limited to:

  •  The care of a patient requires specialized skills that no currently privileged practitioner possesses
  •  A currently privileged practitioner will be absent from the organization and someone is needed to cover the associated patients during the absence (commonly termed locum tenens)
  •  The patient care volume exceeds the level that can be handled by currently privileged practitioners and additional practitioners are needed to handle the volume

Allow Watchdog to efficiently manage your providers temporary privileging needs to expedite care delivery. We can help navigate this process and eliminate confusion.

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