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Fraud

Medical students and residents who misrepresent themselves as fully licensed physicians or as specialists in some area of medicine defraud the patient and increase the probability of a malpractice lawsuit if the patient is injured or just angered by the care. It also may constitute Medicare/Medicaid fraud if the patient is billed for the student's or resident's services. All patients should be made aware of the status of all the people involved in their care and the identity of their attending physician. If a patient signs a consent for a procedure, it should clearly state who will be doing the procedure. (See Chapter 34.) Patients may choose to receive care from someone other than the attending physician, but they should never be misled.

If the patient understands that the person providing care is in training and if the trainee is properly supervised by a licensed physician, the patient may consent to care from a student or resident. The patient may not, however, waive the laws governing independent medical practice, and the providers may not subvert the patient's right to consent.


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