A medical waiver form is a legal document that releases medical practitioners, doctors, and other healthcare professionals from liability in case an accident happens during the patient’s treatment or the patient dies.
During training, medical professionals may have probably been informed of the risks and accidents that might occur during treatment. Therefore, it is also essential to inform the patient of these risks so that they give informed consent before they let the medical professional treat them. It is necessary to have this waiver in a professional capacity as it helps the medical professional avoid being sued by their patient, which is often costly to defend in court.
The form often contains information on the medical procedure, its benefits, and potential side effects, a liability clause informing the patient they cannot sue in the event of an accident, and the patient’s responsibilities concerning the treatment. Because of these potential risks, the medical professional must verify the patient’s age to confirm whether they can sign the waiver.
For minors, medical waivers should be signed by their parents or guardians as they have the authority to sign them on their behalf. Where the patient is an adult, it is advisable that they read and fill the form appropriately before signing it.
You may realize that the medical waiver form goes by different names in other jurisdictions. This difference may be because of the preferred terms in other places.
A medical waiver form can also be called:
- Medical release and liability waiver
- Waiver of liability
- Consent form
- Medical liability release form
- Release of liability
- Liability waiver
If you would like to make your waiver form, you need to understand why you need it and what should be included in a good waiver. This article discusses who needs this waiver, why it is essential, and the legal considerations you should consider when writing it.
Who Needs a Medical Waiver Form?
The medical waiver form is an essential document in the healthcare sector. They can be used by medical professionals, wellness practitioners like chiropractors, and even veterinary doctors.
You can use it if you are any of the following medical professionals:
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
Why Do You Need a Medical Waiver Form?
You should always have a waiver form at your institute, and every patient receiving treatment should sign it before you treat them. You may find it complex, but the waiver serves the following purposes:
Safely protect and store data
If you use medical waiver forms for every patient, you might find it difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to print them regularly whenever a patient needs them. You may find it hard to access these papers, especially if a patient needs them. They may also make it harder to file your documents properly as papers are bulky. You can avoid all these challenges by having a digital waiver form. These forms can easily be shared and secured digitally; you can also easily access this information anytime you need it from your devices and share it with others via a secure network.
You can easily customize your form
Since medical forms vary with each treatment offered to a patient, you should have a form you can customize every time. You can create a form to suit your needs whenever you need one; you can also ask as many or fewer questions as you need to ensure your patients understand the risks and benefits they will get from the treatment.
To protect you from liability
Medical waiver forms should prevent your patient from suing you and release you from liability if your patient incurs injury due to your treatment. This waiver form should help you treat your patient without fearing repercussions if an incident is out of your control. The waiver form should be well written to ensure you do not incur legal liability from your patients or their families.
Components of a Medical Waiver Form
For a medical waiver form to be effective, it has to provide sufficient information to the patient to enable them to give informed consent. You can fill your details on the form and make copies of it, which will save time whenever you need a patient to add their details.
To ensure your waiver form provides sufficient information, you should include the information below:
Your contact information
You should include your address and contact number in your waiver form. This information helps your patient to verify that you are a practitioner. Your address and contact information can also be used should the patient want to contact you in case they need clarification on their treatment.
Dispute resolution details
The dispute resolution clause is crucial because it informs the patient of your preferred method of resolving any disputes. It can also help you avoid resolving disputes via court, which is expensive and time-consuming. You can indicate whether you would prefer arbitration or mediation, and you can also indicate whether you will use mediation after arbitration fails and vice versa.
Patient’s contact information
The form should have a section where the patient will provide the contact information, including their address and phone number, preferably their home phone number. You can use this information to contact their next of kin if you need someone to make a medical decision for the patient. You can also use it to follow up on whether the patient is adhering to their treatment needs.
The form should include a section where the patient indicates any injuries they have, medication they are taking, and, where necessary, allergies. The patient’s medical state can help you establish what treatment you need to provide. It can also be used as evidence of prior injuries, mainly where the injuries may prevent you from fully executing your duties as a doctor.
Health insurance information
The patient’s health insurance information should include their insurer, insurance plan, and policy number. You can use this information to follow up on your claim from the patient’s insurance company. Once the patient leaves their information, you can contact the insurance company to file the claim. The policyholder and policy number make it easy to prepare a comprehensive claim without contacting the patient for more information.
Description of the medical treatment
Your waiver form should provide sufficient information on the treatment plan you intend to use and the risks and benefits of using your treatment plan. It allows the patient to understand the treatment process and to prepare themselves and their loved ones for dire risks like death. The description should include the prescription, medication, and procedures the patient will undergo during the treatment.
Terms of the agreement
Where the waiver form includes an agreement that the patient may or may not sue you should an accident happen when you are treating them, the terms of this agreement should be stated clearly. Before signing the agreement, the patient must have understood that they are restricted from suing you in any capacity. You will not be held liable if they incur any injury because of circumstances out of your control as their doctor.
Once you have filled the form, you should leave a blank space where the patient to sign. The patient’s signature shows that they have read, understood, and agreed with the information in the waiver form. Without the signature, the waiver form may be considered unenforceable because there is no proof the patient signed and agreed to the terms of the waiver.
Further, the form may also be unenforceable if it is signed by a minor or a mentally disabled patient; it is presumed the patient could not understand the implications of the waiver.
Date and time
Waiver forms are specific to each patient’s treatment. Your patient will have to sign it if they are to be treated for a different reason each time they come to the hospital. It is crucial to indicate the date and time the waiver form was signed to help you keep your records. It also indicates the date when the waiver expires after a particular period of time passes.
Medical Waiver Form
Now that you know you need a waiver form, you should request your patients sign one every time you treat them. Therefore, you may need to have multiple waiver forms for different treatments.
It may take more time to create them from scratch, especially when you often need them. This issue can be resolved by using the templates given here. They are simple to use and can be adjusted to fit your needs. You can quickly create a good waiver form with an effective medical waiver template and focus more on treating your patients.
You are required to give your patient the best level of care and treatment you can. A waiver form only protects you if you have provided your best care, even if your patient dies or becomes injured. Therefore, your waiver does not protect you from legal liability if you act negligently or provide substandard patient care. If you consider the above conditions, the medical waiver form should help you provide the highest standard of care without fear of legal repercussions, thus enabling you to treat your patient comfortably.
Some of the compensation you may be required to pay in case you are held liable includes the cost of the surgery and the medical expenses incurred due to your negligence. You may also be required to pay costs for medicine and other forms of treatment the patient may be required to take. If the patient fails to continue working because of your negligence, you may also pay for damages for lost income.
Frequently Asked Questions
A waiver form in medical billing prevents your patient from claiming compensation from you if the treatment causes further injury or death to the patient.
You can download a waiver form template from online sites and use it to prepare your waiver. You can also prepare one from scratch by researching sample waivers online.
Yes and no. A medical liability waiver form and an informed consent form are similar because they both inform the person signing on the risks of a particular action. However, a medical liability waiver explains to the patient the potential risks and benefits of treatment, and by signing it, the patient waives the right to sue the medical practitioner. On the contrary, an informed consent form explains to the person signing that potential risks might be involved. It also shows they voluntarily agree that they understand the risks involved.