Consent Considerations

Consent Considerations
How often do you and your staff obtain a new written informed consent for treatment? State laws vary some, but let me throw this out there.... I frequently see dentists disciplined for not having signed consent when they should have had it. Conversely, I have never seen a dentist disciplined for having consent forms signed for every clinical procedure (or too many consents). 

When in doubt as to whether or not you need consent, err on the side of caution and get it!

Some principles to remember about consent:
  • Always get consent in writing
  • Consent forms should give patients enough information to help them decide whether to give or withhold consent
  • Consent forms must be properly completed, dated and signed
  • Consent needs to be provided by the right person (parent or guardian)
  • Always have consent forms signed in person, never by fax, mail, e-mail or other means. These forms are important and you have to know who actually signed the consent form.
  • Include a witness signature to verify the patient/ guardian signature was witnessed.
  • Have your attorney and/ or liability insurance company review your consent forms.

Also, be careful with signed refusals. It is not a permission slip for you to perform bad dentistry. If a patient will not follow your recommendations based on industry standards and best practices you might consider discharging that patient for non-compliance. Be sure to do so according to the laws of your state. Many states allow dentists to dismiss patients 'for cause'. Non-compliance could be 'cause' enough. 

Be well. Do good. Be blessed.

- Tink


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Dental Compliance Specialists helps make dental offices safer for patients, dentists and their employees. We help our clients develop and maintain their compliance programs including OSHA/Infection Control, HIPAA, DEA regulations and prescribing practices, Radiation Safety, OIG/Medicaid Compliance, Record Auditing, and more by providing actionable systems, easy-to-use tools, robust training, and accountability. Most of our clients have never been in trouble and want to keep it that way. Sometimes, though, dentists call when they are in trouble. In either case, we are there to make a meaningful difference. If you need help call us at 817-755-0035.

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