Personal Characteristics



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Law of the

Agency

Agency is a personal relationship, created by the mutual consent of:
The Agent (employee) and the Principal (employer) wherein the employee acts on behalf of the principal while supervised by the principal. The principal is responsible for the actions of the agent and can be required to compensate or pay people who have been injured by the agent.
Health care workers must be aware of the role as agents and work to protect the interests of the employer.
Agency may be expressed or implied, but is usually

implied in the medical office.



Privileged Communication

Covers all information given to health personnel by a patient.


Physician/Patient information cannot be told to anyone else without the written consent of the patient. By law, this information must be kept confidential.
Written consent should state:

  1. What information can be released.

  2. Who can get the information.

  3. Any time limits related to the release of information.


Medical Information Exempt by Law

  1. Births and deaths

  2. Injuries caused by violence (abuse, etc.)

  3. Drug abuse

  4. Communicable disease

  5. Sexually transmitted diseases

This information MUST be reported!



Health

Care

Records

Contain information on the care that has been provided to the patient.


Medical records belong to the health care provider but the patient has the right to obtain a copy.
The medical record is a legal document and may be subpoenaed as evidence in a court of law.
Errors must be corrected by drawing a single line through the mistake, inserting the correct information, dating the change, and signing your initials.
Erasures are not allowed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Never chart any treatment(s) or procedure(s) until after you have done them
Records must be maintained and retained for the amount of time as required by state law (2 to 7 yrs).

When records are destroyed, they must be burned or shredded.


Computerized records have created modern dilemmas on maintaining confidentiality.
Application of Legal Issues


Directions: Make notes concerning each of the following cases and be prepared to discuss the legal responsibilities.


  1. While catheterizing a female patient, the nurse leaves the door to the room open so she can see if a doctor walks by.



  1. A surgeon operates on the wrong leg.



  1. A dental assistant slaps a screaming child.



  1. A physical therapist fractures a patient’s leg while performing exercises.



  1. A medical assistant sends a copy of a patient’s record to an insurance company without the patient’s consent.



  1. A nurse working for a plastic surgeon tells a patient that a face lift will make the patient look ten years younger.



  1. A nursing assistant ties an elderly patient to the bed with sheets and tape to keep him from walking in the halls.



  1. A patient complains to the nursing assistant of chest pain and difficulty breathing. It is time for the nursing assistant to go to lunch and the complaints are not reported to the nurse and the patient dies of a heart attack.



  1. A sixteen year old gets breast implants and a consent form was never signed.



  1. A medical assistant following the doctor’s order gives an antibiotic injection to a patient. She explains what she is about to do to the patient; the patient turns over so the assistant can give the injection, but never says a word.

Legal Terms Concentration Quiz



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