Form Over Substance? No! Form AND Substance!
The COVID-19 pandemic remains a public health crisis and clinical practices are adjusting to the “new normal.”
Below are suggestions specifically related to forms that you can develop and utilize in your practice to potentially mitigate legal exposure related to COVID-19 contraction by your patients and staff.
Patient Consent Forms
As always, documentation is your best defense. Practitioners are well advised to consider updating their patient consent forms for patients receiving care and treatment during the pandemic. These forms should include an acknowledgement of the potential risks of becoming infected with COVID-19. Patients should also be made aware of their responsibilities to wear a mask, wash their hands and to answer screening questions honestly. This may include a pre-visit telephone call to screen for symptoms of COVID-19 which should be documented in the patient record. You may also wish to consider providing a separate waiting area or alternative scheduling times to separate “well” patients from “sick” patients.
Written Staff Acknowledgements
It is also important to ensure you and your staff are well educated on the risks of exposure and potential contraction of COVID-19. In particular, the availability of and training on the proper use of personal protective equipment. Alternative patient scheduling procedures should be implemented to avoid crowded waiting rooms and to allow for expanded office cleaning procedures. Workflows may need to be changed to allow for social distancing. We recommend that staff be provided with this essential information and asked to sign an acknowledgement form confirming their understanding of the information provided and that they should not present to work if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
Some clients have been inquiring about utilizing COVID-19 liability waivers in their practices. A COVID-19 liability waiver would release a practice from any potential liability in the event a patient or an employee would contract COVID-19 while on the premises. Currently, we are all awaiting to see whether judges will enforce a COVID-19 liability waiver.
We are here to assist you in developing new forms and to guide you every step of the way!
For further information, please Contact Us.
Articles distributed by Malecki & Brooks Law Group, LLC are advertisements and summaries for general information and discussion purposes only. They are not full analyses of the matters presented, legal, or otherwise, and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
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