Privileges, Family Medicine Departments and

Hospitals departmentalized by specialty should establish departments of family medicine. The department of family medicine should have all the rights, duties, and responsibilities comparable to other specialty departments of the medical staff. It should have the right to recommend directly to the appropriate committee, typically the credentials committee, those privileges that fall within the scope of family medicine. The assent or approval of any other department should not be required. The ultimate responsibility for the granting of privileges remains with the hospital governing body.

Family medicine encompasses continuous, comprehensive, quality care, emphasizing patient advocacy. Family physicians should have access to their patients in all areas of a healthcare facility, including areas of high technological care, through appropriate privileging. Patients should have access to family physicians in all these areas. All medical staff members should recognize that overlap occurs between many specialties and that no one department "owns" or has exclusive rights to any particular privileges. (See AAFP Policy on Privileges Independent of Department Structure.)

The family medicine department should determine the criteria for and recommend privileges commensurate with the core curriculum and training offered in a family medicine residency program.

The department of family medicine should establish and use a core privileging process based on criteria developed by the department. Core privileges within the department of family medicine should reflect the core curriculum and training offered in accredited family medicine residency programs. Criteria for privileges outside of the core should be pre-established by the department of family medicine in consultation with other appropriate clinical departments. Recommendations for privileges outside the family medicine core may then be considered by the department of family medicine according to the criteria jointly established by the relevant clinical departments. In all cases, clinical review of a physician should be done in the department where the privilege originated.

As with any specialty department, individual members of the department of family medicine may have different degrees of experience, and clinical interests, and would not all be eligible, per se, for the same privileges just by virtue of being members of the family medicine department. Privileges in the department of family medicine should be based on documented current licensure, training and/or experience, demonstrated abilities, and current competence. (1997) (2014 COD)