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Legal Issues for Case Managers: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

Ely-Pierce, Kay MA, RN, JD

Case Management

Recent changes in health care delivery systems have provided nurses with the opportunity to practice in a variety of roles, many of which allow for increased responsibility and independence. With autonomy and responsibility, however, comes increased exposure to legal liability. Nurses need to understand basic legal principles and pertinent state and federal laws if they are to meet the standard of care. Nurse case managers epitomize the qualities of the autonomous nurse and as specialists, must have greater knowledge as they will be held to a higher standard of care than generalists.

Nurse Attorney and Health Care Consultant, Maurertown, Virginia (Ely-Pierce)

At the time of writing, Kay Ely-Pierce was nurse-attorney and health careconsultant, Adjunct Faculty, Division of Nursing, Shenandoah University School of Health Professions, Winchester, Virginia. If there is evidence that clearly supports modification of, or deviation from, the guideline or pathway, one should document this and what the variant path or treatment is or shall be.Particular areas of legal concern vary based on what role the case manager assumes.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.