Sick notes don't have to be painful

April 10, 2011

A doctor's sick note always has been regarded as a serious document.

Key Points

Recent news reports described physicians writing phony sick notes on behalf of protesting teachers and public employees in Wisconsin.

Often, primary care doctors advocate for the interests of patients in the healthcare system, battling with insurers and administrators. But the physicians in the news in Wisconsin may have carried patient advocacy too far.

A doctor's sick note always has been regarded as a serious document. Many companies or schools require such a note when someone is absent, so requests for sick notes are common. The employer or school recognizes a respected, independent, medically qualified third party to verify the fact of an illness and the need for convalescence. To protect yourself and maintain public trust between physicians, employers, schools, and patients, remember these points when writing sick notes: