Protecting yourself against noncompliance

I treat many high-risk patients, what's the best way to limit my liability for those who are noncompliant?

As a gastroenterologist, I treat many patients with cirrhosis, severe colitis, and other high-risk conditions. What's the best way to limit my liability for those who are noncompliant?

Getting compliance is your best protection, so keep trying for it. Make sure you've carefully explained to these patients the risks of not following treatment regimens. Ask them if they have any questions and verify that they fully understand what you've told them. Put your care instructions in writing for them, and follow up to see if they've been doing what's required. If they haven't, see if you can make adjustments to encourage compliance. For instance, if you've prescribed a costly medication and you learn that the patient is having financial troubles, could you prescribe a less expensive alternative? If necessary, enlist family members in your effort to get the patient to follow your advice. And while you're at it, thoroughly document all of these steps in your records so you'll have plenty of proof that you've done all you could to encourage compliance.

Send your practice management questions to: PMQA Editor, Medical Economics, 24950 Country Club Blvd., Suite 200, North Olmsted, OH 44070-5351, or send an e-mail to (please include your regular postal address).

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