Ask ECRI: When Legal Questions Arise in Clinical Situations

January 4, 2017 | Ambulatory Care Risk Management


​A risk manager recently wrote to ECRI Institute asking for guidance on making legal information available to providers when such questions arise in clinical situations. For example, the risk manager states, a minor patient may request birth control but ask providers not to discuss the issue with his or her parent or guardian. In such situations, directing the provider to consult with the organization's legal counsel may be too expensive and time consuming to be a practical routine suggestion.

In our response, ECRI Institute encourages the risk manager to refer to state practice acts and state laws and regulations that address many legal concerns that come up in practice. State medical associations may also be able to provide assistance. Risk managers may be able to identify much of this information without legal counsel, but ECRI Institute recommends that risk managers not hesitate to discuss these issues with counsel. Although such consultations may be costly, they are likely less costly...

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