Patient-Physician Relationship Issues
This section provides general information about traditional legal issues inherent in the patient-physician relationship. Many of these legal issues stem from physicians' ethical obligations to patients. As stated in the AMA's Code of Medical Ethics, ethical values and legal principles are closely related. However, since the ethical standard typically goes beyond what the law requires, it is important that physicians are aware of both legal and ethical obligations. The law, which sometimes is slow to change, has not always kept pace with some of the recent fundamental changes in the delivery of health care, and it is fairly difficult to predict how courts will interpret a physician's obligations relative to the rapidly changing health care system. Therefore, taking the ethical highroad may be both in the best interest of a physician's patient and the best risk management strategy.
To find out more about a physician's ethical obligations, consult the AMA's Code of Medical Ethics by downloading the AMA PolicyFinder.
In addition, you may wish to purchase the new edition of the AMA publication, Medicolegal Forms with Legal Analysis: Documenting the Patient-Physician Relationship. This best-selling practical reference has been a trusted resource for physicians, administrators, and office managers for nearly 40 years. Now completely updated to reflect the most current legal and ethical positions, this edition provides sample forms, correspondence, authorizations, notifications and releases, as well as clear and concise legal analyses documenting the pertinent risks, conditions, procedures, and situations that each sample form addresses. The cost is only $44.95 ($34.95 for AMA members). Order through the AMA Store, or call (800) 621-8335. Refer to Order # OP630297APZ when you call.