Medical staff bylaws

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Medical staff bylaws are the rules that govern the relationship between physicians on staff at a hospital and the hospital administrators. In most states, medical staff bylaws have the legal force of a contract, which means that they can be enforced in a court of law.[1]

When a patient in a hospital needs to stay an additional day, or have a certain procedure, a physician's medical judgment for that patient is protected by medical staff bylaws against retaliation by a hospital attempting to cut costs. Similarly, when a physician's presence on staff at a hospital interferes with new plans of the hospital administration, the medical staff bylaws protect against arbitrary revocation of the physician's ability to care for his patients at the hospital.

All medical staff bylaws have procedures for revising their terms in an orderly manner that ensures input from physicians, both on behalf of themselves and their patients. Increasingly, however, hospital administrators seek ways to change unilaterally medical staff bylaws for their benefit, with little concern for patient care. This cannot be done with respect to contracts, and should not be allowed with respect to medical staff bylaws.


  1. Medical staff bylaws as contract