A physician group practice in Virginia learns that one of its most senior – and trusted – members – has a serious substance abuse issue. This physician, like all other physicians in the group, is an independent contractor who serves on the medical staff at a major Arlington-area hospital. She takes an approved medical leave of absence to get treatment for her illness. Three months later, the physician writes to the practice chair, advising him that she is ready to return to work. The practice’s chair does not know whether he should inform the hospital that his colleague missed three months of work – and disclose why she was absent.
Discuss the potential legal theories of liability that the physician group and hospital each might encounter in this matter. To whom, if anyone, would the group and hospital owe a legal duty? In addition to the applicable theories, provide two recommendations each for the doctors and hospital officials. Two Paragraphs, add resources if needed.