By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
My experience in representing doctors, nurses and other licensed health professionals in disciplinary cases has lead me to conclude, us to conclude, its is always a bad idea for them to:
1. Write a prescription for any medication for yourself.
2. Start a romantic relationship with a patient.
3. Take someone else’s prescription medication, ever.
4. Write a prescription for or treat a patient, especially a family member, for a condition outside the scope of his specialty (e.g., a dentist prescribing antibiotics to her children to treat a cold; a pediatrician prescribing pain medications for an adult; a dentist writing a prescription for pain medications for a patient’s back paid; an OB/GYN prescribing antidepressants for a male).
5. Write any prescription for or treat any patient who is in another state when the physician is not licensed in that state.
6. Treat or prescribe for any spouse, other family member, friend or colleague, without opening a medical record and fully documenting the treatment or prescription, as you would for any other patient.
7. Hire a patient to work for you in your office or, especially, allow a patient to “volunteer” to work in your office.
8. Pre-sign blank prescriptions for your Physician Assistant, ARNP, Medical Assistant, receptionist, or anyone else, to complete later, or have pre-signed blank prescriptions in your office.
9. Seek psychotherapy or drug/alcohol abuse treatment with a physician or HCP health professional in your own medical group, institution or the staff of your own hospital.
10. Add to, alter or change any medical/dental record entry after you know there may be a claim, investigation or litigation involving it.
11. For a mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health counselor, social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner) to have any type of social relationship with a current patient.
12. Take and use your own drug samples provided by pharmaceutical companies.
13. Go into a hospital where you do not have clinical privileges and treat or “assist” in treating a patient there, even if it is your own patient.
14. Have a sexual relationship ( including “sexting” or “telephone sex”) with a patient or patient’s immediate family member.
These are actual examples from cases in which I have had to represent licensed health professionals in defending their licenses and attempting to keep their jobs. For each of the above, there have been more than one.
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About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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