Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program

Quickie Consult 220

From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic
Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time.

“Work Restriction/Off Work Status - Patient Affidavit”

In consultation #204 entitled, "Building a Legally Defensible Practice & Narrative," I wrote:
"A patient reports to you that he cannot work as he is in too much pain. You perform an examination and certify that he is in fact inured and cannot work. You fill out his disability papers and he gets paid for the next 4 months for not working. 1 year later, you get a demand letter in the mail for repayment with interest for Mr. Jones because the carrier's investigators found that Mr. Jones was working off the books painting houses when you had him out on disability. Outraged, you call the carrier and they politely tell you that they paid Mr. Jones because YOU signed his disability forms and it wasn't Mr. Jones' words that were the cause of payment, it was yours, making you liable. Did you have Mr. Jones sign a form or initial on your examination report that he was unable to work transferring the liability from you to your patient? If you did, then you have a legally defensible position to point the carriers directly to Mr. Jones as you have a paper trial of liability. If not...get our your checkbook because in many states, this paradigm has been upheld as the doctor being liable."
I have held in the past that on your examination form there should be a place for the patient to initial or sign, certifying his/her work status in order to render a level of protection for you and keep the liability with him/her as the reporting party. Dr. Sheldon Hoxie from Florida disagrees; he believes that there should be a separate document that the patient signs in "affidavit format" to render a more significant level of protection for the doctor and I agree. Therefore, I have worked with Dr. Hoxie and made available for all members as a free members benefit a document entitled, "Work Restriction/Off Work Status; Patient Affidavit" for you to download and customize for your office. This can be found on the "Forms-Communication Materials" page on the left toolbar of the Web site. As always, this form is a template and I urge you to confer with local counsel on any local and state requirements as each jurisdiction in each state might havenuances that must be adhered to.
I also want to add one personal note. Last week when I said I was an ass for wearing jeans for a videoconference, Dr. Ralph Latyschow from New Jersey responded to me with one word, "Schmuck." Although I regretfully have to agree with him and probably will hear about it for years, I just wanted to know...Ralph...does this exonerate me...because if can't download this document!!!!
This is so much fun!!!!!

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