Q&A: Refilling a prescription for a partner's patient

September 19, 2008

One of my partner's patients occasionally asks me to approve a prescription refill in my partner's absence. Does providing those refills increase my malpractice risk?

Q: One of my partner's patients occasionally asks me to approve a prescription refill in my partner's absence. Does providing those refills increase my malpractice risk?

A: It could, so protect yourself by checking the patient's chart carefully before writing a refill to make sure he isn't allergic to the medication. You should also ask the patient if his condition has changed at all, or if he's had any adverse reactions to the medication. Remember to note the refill in the patient's chart. For additional protection, it's best to create a written protocol that you and your partner will follow when approving refills for each other's patients. You should also review your malpractice policy to make sure you'll be covered in case something goes wrong and you're sued.