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Professional Liability Expert Weighs In On Protecting Your Practice From Opioid Doc Arrest Fallout

April 19, 2019

[Practices] must have policies and procedures in place that specifically address the prescription of opioid medication. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opiods for Chronic Pain should be used as the model. A Quality Assurance program, including stand-up meetings among providers to discuss opioid patients, and a care coordinator specifically aimed at conducting monthly audits should be employed to monitor the prescriptions written by each of its members. … The group must also carefully screen its members with ongoing checks as to disciplinary status, criminal and civil background, status of hospital staff privileges and personal health.

[But] with all proactive steps in place, the practice will still be subject in most states to exposure to civil liability. Under theories of respondeat superior, vicarious liability, ostensible agency, negligent supervision and hiring, to name a few, the relationship of the provider to the group will come to play. … Physician extenders require the signature of a licensed physician to sign off on narcotic pain medications and will therefore share in exposure.

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