Understanding the Role and Function of a Medical Executive Committee

What is the role of a Medical Executive Committee?

Few physicians understand the role of a Medical Executive Committee (MEC), if they did, more would want to be a part of it.  Hospitals, surgery centers, PPOs and MCOs are all required to have a MEC, because they are the watchdog to safety, quality and success of their program.  Through the delineation of services, the MEC is often involved in turf wars that everyone tries to carry out fairly, but it is difficult to give everyone what they want.  The committee makes recommendations regarding quality of care, space, equipment, staffing, planning, medical staff appointments, clinical privileges, credentialing, and most importantly they assess the ethical conduct and professional performance of all members of the medical staff. The MEC is a very powerful committee, but few realize that.  So what is the scope of responsibility for a MEC member?

Medical Executive Committee's Power, Role and Responsibilities

In General the MEC Member is expected to:

  • To represent the medical staff;
  • To report to management and the medical director the group's recommendations;
  • To implement and enforce policies and procedure pertaining to the medical;
  • To make recommendations on the management of the facility and the its members and subcommittees;

As it pertains to other physicians, a MEC Member is expected to:

  • To review medical staff applications and delineation of privileges and make recommendations to the governing board;
  • To review, analyze and make reasonable recommendations from observing the peer review performance and activities: including clinical competence, quality assurance, utilization review, risk management concerns, adherence to policy and procedures, and corrective actions necessary to improve the facility and the medical staff that operates within it;
  • To take all reasonable steps to ensure and improve professionalism, ethics and competence of the medical staff and facility.
  • To take part in MEC ad hoc committees to carry out the obligations including peer reviews and continuous quality improvement initiatives.

While the role on an MEC does not sound very financially rewarding or “sexy”, it is one of the main doorways for physicians who wish to become administrators.  Most Medical Executive Committee's will allow for guest non-members to sit-in and observe in general open meetings. The more involved a physician is in the MEC, the more likely they will understand its functions and the more likely they will be successful in what they choose to do as a career.

If you are trying to understand how MECs work, feel free to reach out to us with any questions you have.

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