Liability Waivers for COVID-19: Put Stronger Safeguards in Place Now

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Liability Waivers for COVID-19: Put Stronger Safeguards in Place Now

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QUESTION: Can we be sued if a patient thinks they got infected at our practice? Will a COVID-19 liability waiver protect us from patient lawsuits claiming they contracted the virus at our office?

Question from Austin, Texas subscriber

 

ANSWER: You are right to be anxious about the reality of being sued. More than 800+ COVID-19 lawsuits have been filed this year. However, to truly protect your physicians and practice, there are some stronger safeguards that you can implement that are better rather than blanket liability waivers for physician practices.

Historically, disease liability waivers have been legally ineffective. In fact, the blanket forms are considered unethical. Most importantly, they won’t prevent your physicians from confronting claims for gross negligence. Meaning, you could still face a costly lawsuit and expensive legal bills regardless of whether you are ultimately found responsible or not.

You can better protect your practice with robust consent policies and safety protocols. When coming to your office, patients should read and agree to your informed consent polices that should adequately advise patients of all risks for treatment. In your practice compliance plan, you should add your increased safety protocols. Maintain documentation of your ongoing disinfection activities that your practice conducts to ensure staff and patient safety.

For more actions you should take now to reduce your practice risk, healthcare attorney, Ike Devji, JD, can help. In the upcoming online training, “Take Action Now to Prevent Expected COVID-19 Lawsuits,” Ike will walk you through exactly how to protect your practice from upcoming COVID-19 liability with step-by-step, actionable strategies and tactics you can implement.


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Meet Your Writer

Jen Godreau CPC, CPMA, CPEDC, COPC Content Director

Jennifer Godreau, CPC, CPMA, CPEDC, COPC, has almost 20 years of experience in billing, coding, compliance, and practice management. She develops the content and programs for Healthcare Training Leader, a practice-specific online training company offering step-by-step advice on increasing reimbursement and avoiding compliance violations. Prior to joining Healthcare Training Leader, Jennifer supervised the program delivery for EMRs, practice management systems and compliance and revenue cycle services for more than 6,000 providers. Thousands of software products - encoders, claims management, auditing, and HIPAA compliance, have been created with her teams and helped thousands of practices more easily reduce revenue losses and comply with complex regulations. Her passion for breaking down healthcare rules and requirements in simple steps has provided practical advice, education, and risk reduction strategies to numerous associations, payers and medical specialties especially in primary care, otolaryngology, eye care, and pediatrics. Jennifer’s advocacy resulted in supervision rule revisions, new CPT codes, and CMS compliance contracts. She oversaw the provider auditing and education for one of the major corporate integrity health system settlements. Jennifer has authored and presented on numerous healthcare compliance and payment challenges. Her education guides include the Certified Otolaryngology Coder (CENTC) exam study guide and the AAPC Professional Medical Coding Curriculum. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. She holds certificates in coding, auditing, pediatric coding, and ophthalmology billing and coding, and is AAPC Vice President of the Naples, FL chapter. Please reach out to Jennifer for step-by-step guidance at editorial@hctrainingleader.com