How can we establish an on-call policy that differs from the parent hospital and establish an identity as a specific home health unit when the mental health unit is 50% owned by the hospital?
Dear Nancy replies:
Your question is an interesting one but one that cannot be easily be responded to in this column. You did not provide factual information about the 50% ownership of the home health care unit. Such information is vital to any decision that can be made about a different on-call policy.
Your best bet is for your nursing staff, or one staff member elected to represent all of you, to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who can carefully review the organizational relationship between the parent hospital and the home health unit and suggest alternatives that may be possible. Such a consultation will need to include the attorney’s review of the applicable licensing laws for each entity, whether the nursing staff at the home health unit are considered employees of the parent hospital or employees of the home health unit and other legal issues.
The cost of the consultation should not be that prohibitive if every staff member agrees to contribute a proportionate share of the total cost.