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Guidelines for Contacting Legal

Guidelines for Contacting Legal - Departments & Programs, UW Medical Foundation, Patient Resources, Social Work Services Quick Guide, Social Work Manual, Policies and Procedures


Social workers must contact the Manager of Social Work Services prior to contacting UWHC Legal Services.

There has been an increase in the number of issues directed to legal that could be problem solved elsewhere. I have requested that UWHC Legal Services redirect all requests to me if it is evident that pre-screening has not been completed.

Please contact the Manager of Social Work Services to review Advance Medical Directives for accuracy, completeness or acceptance.

Both Amy Stoll and John Kenneally are experts regarding POA issues and have agreed to serve as contacts.

For inpatient issues, please involve your OM, the SW Manager, and/or Barb Liegel.

Outpatient, please refer to the social work manager, your clinic manager, or seek the council of one of your wise colleagues.

Recently it has been noted that there have been calls about issues that often do not involve a legal question or that could be answered without Legal Services' involvement.

Some examples are:

POA-HC: Questions regarding the content of a document (e.g., what is needed for a POA-HC to be valid if the state form is not used, whether a POA-HC is valid if dates on cover/signature pages do not match, whether out of state POAs are valid), to sort through a disagreement between a social worker and HIM about whether a POA-HC should be accepted for scanning, or to advise about various situations in which a POA-HC document is executed (e.g., what happens when the medical note indicates a patient lacks medical decision making capacity but the patient has recently made a POA-HC document) are not appropriate for legal unless all avenues of addressing these issues have been pursued. These issue can be addressed by reviewing the state statutes, reviewing HIM guidelines or by discussing with the team or others. Social work judgment is required.

Surrogate Decision making. Do not direct questions that typically involve family issues and can sometimes be answered by referencing Informed Consent policy 4.17 or by making a (non-legal) judgment about who to involve in the decision making process (e.g., can an estranged spouse defer decision making to the family or what to do when divorced parents do not agree regarding care of a child). These types of questions could often be resolved by working with the social work supervisor.

Challenging Patient Situations : Do not contact legal where there might be a legal issue, but the situation can be managed operationally without legal involvement by pulling together a team meeting, consulting with patient relations, etc.

Guardianship: Tiffany or Kevin are the appropriate contacts to initiate guardianship, but do so when it is clear that guardianship is needed. If there are questions about when guardianship is necessary (e.g., to discharge home with family), these questions should be answered without legal assistance.

  • Tiffany Roepsch: (608) 890-7292
  • Kevin Eldridge: (608) 890-5561

Remember there may also be resources and references in the Social Work manual. Discussion with the treating team is usually the best first step.