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Petrovich v. Share Health Plan of Illinois, Inc.

Illinois Supreme Court
719 N.E.2d 756 (Ill. 1999)


Petrovich (plaintiff) was a patient of Dr. Kowalski (defendant). Her health maintenance organization (HMO) was Share Health Plan of Illinois, Inc. (Share) (defendant). Dr. Kowalski worked as an independent contractor physician for Share, and Share ran its own quality assurance program to monitor Dr. Kowalski and other physicians. Share compensated its physicians on a “per patient” basis. It provided an overview of its business to all its customers (including Petrovich), but the Share handbook always referred to doctors as “your Share physician.” The handbook in no way indicated that physicians worked as independent contractors for Share. At the time Petrovich was treated by Dr. Kowalski, she believed her physicians were employees of Share. Petrovich suffered from oral cancer, and alleged Dr. Kowalski negligently failed to diagnose her in a timely manner. She brought a medical malpractice suit against Dr. Kowalski, and also named Share as a defendant. Petrovich alleged that even though Dr. Kowlaski was an independent contractor physician for Share, the HMO should still be liable for damages under agency law. The trial court ruled for Petrovich, and Share appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bilandic, J.)

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