Adding Ozempic and Wegovy to Your Practice? How to Do It Right
Weight loss drugs are all the rage! Discover how to ethically incorporate weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy into your practice while avoiding legal pitfalls.
Semaglutide (known by its brand names Ozempic and Wegovy) is the hot new thing in weight loss and seems to have gained everyone’s attention. You’ve likely heard that Hollywood celebrities use Ozempic to get skinny quickly. You may also know that Ozempic’s popularity has caused shortages that affect patients who need it for medical conditions such as diabetes.
But despite all the noise, studies suggest that semaglutide can create positive health outcomes for some patients. So if you’re thinking about using Ozempic or Wegovy as a weight loss tool in your practice, let’s explore how to do so in an ethical and legally compliant way.
As with any other type of health care service, you will need to obtain informed consent from the patient. Remember, receiving informed consent involves having a conversation with the patient, not just getting a signature. To obtain compliant informed consent, you need to discuss the benefits, risks, and alternatives to treatment. Patients may already know the potential benefits and be eager to get started. But it’s up to you — or your team — to explain the risks of taking Ozempic or Wegovy. Also, don’t forget to discuss alternative treatments, such as other drugs, more invasive procedures, proper diet, and exercise.
Standard Operating Procedures
Whenever you add a new service, you should update your standard operating procedures to include it. If you have any non-physician staff involved in diagnosing or treating patients, you may need to update their collaborative agreements to include Ozempic and Wegovy to comply with state regulations.
Ensure you understand the purpose of recommending Ozempic and Wegovy for each patient and submit claims appropriately. It’s crucial to note that if you prescribe these drugs to a patient who doesn’t have diabetes and then submit an insurance claim for reimbursement, it could be considered fraud. Also, be vigilant and carefully consider if the treatment is medically necessary when reviewing charts or otherwise delivering patient care via telehealth.
Of course, when you introduce any new treatment or service, you need to train your workforce on implementation details. But because of the bigger picture with Ozempic and Wegovy, it’s crucial to talk about the possible risks of using these drugs and how the surge in demand has caused shortages. By having open and honest conversations about the drug’s impact on both patients and the broader society, you can reduce the risk for your practice on multiple fronts.
Get Legal Help.
Do you need to update your consent forms to address Ozempic and Wegovy? Or perhaps your standard operating procedures need revising. An experienced healthcare lawyer can help you. If you practice in any of the states where we have licensed attorneys, set up a free consultation to learn more.
This blog is made for educational purposes and is not intended to be specific legal advice to any particular person. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between our firm and the reader. It should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.