Risk Management

Mask Wearing: Non-compliant patients and staff

September 4, 2020
Dear OMIC Insureds:

As the COVID-19 emergency continues, OMIC’s Confidential Risk Management Hotline receives calls from our insureds asking how to respond to patients and staff that refuse to wear a mask in their clinics. Practices want to know if they can refuse service to patients without triggering a liability claim (allegations of refused care or abandonment) and force employees to comply or face disciplinary action.

OMIC recommends developing a policy on mask wearing for your clinic in anticipation of these refusals so staff will be trained on how to respond in a consistent manner.

To do so, know your state’s policy on mask wearing as well as best practice recommendations by other professional health organizations:

1.    What does your state health department say about mask wearing and what are the state’s requirements (and exceptions)? Here are links to help you identify your state’s mask wearing requirements and more specifically, your state health department policy:

a.    Does your state require wearing masks?

b.    State Health Department Link

2.    What do other professional health organizations say about wearing a mask? Check with the following organizations:

a.    Centers for Disease Control CDC: CDC Link

b.    American Academy of Ophthalmology: AAO – Patient Guide-Coronavirus and your eyes

c.    American College of Surgeons ACS:  ACS- Surgical Attire

d.    New England Journal of Medicine for patient education resources on the benefits of mask wearing: NJM mask wearing- pt. Education

3.    Check with your practice attorney if you have staff that are not willing to comply with mask wearing policy in your clinic. This will help prevent employment liability claims (alleging of unfair employment policies and wrongful disciplinary action).

OMIC recommends your policy reflect these considerations to mitigate liability risk. Contact OMIC Risk Management if you need further assistance. Either email us at riskmanagement@omic.com or call OMIC Risk Management 1-800-562-6642, enter 4 at the prompt for the Confidential Risk Management Hotline.

Please refer to OMIC's Copyright and Disclaimer regarding the contents on this website

Leave a comment

Six reasons OMIC is the best choice for ophthalmologists in America.

Expertise unmatched.

OMIC's sole mission is to serve ophthalmology. The premier source of ophthalmic claims data and loss prevention materials, OMIC's member hotline is the most used ophthalmic consultative service of its kind and OMIC.com is the most visited web site in America for ophthalmic risk management advice and patient consent documents.