Verbal Orders

Truth be told, I don't like them. I discourage the providers that I work with from accepting them for no reason other than that I rarely see one that actually suffices as a valid dispensing order. But, on that same note, rarely are written/printed dispensing orders Medicare compliant so I guess that some could argue that.


When I started this blog I thought "what will I write about?" And a colleague said.. you see so many common issues on a daily basis that you should just write about the experiences that you are encountering. So, I decided that this blog should be about verbal orders and what is/is not acceptable (amidst my personal dislike).


For purposes of a dispensing order Medicare does accept both verbal or written orders as long as all necessary information is present. The following must be present in the verbal order:


-a description of the item to be dispensed,

-the beneficiary's name

-the ordering physician's name

-the start date of the order

-valid signature of the dispensing provider


Also, just like all documentation, a record of the verbal order must be maintained and available.


I often see notes in provider files that look something of this nature: "Phone call received from physician ordering brace-verbal order." Amidst being noted within a patient record, this notation does not include the necessary elements to be validated as a verbal order.

My advice would be that if your practice does regularly accept verbal dispensing orders ensure that you have procedures in place to secure the necessary elements indicated above. Although the dispensing order may not always be a necessary piece of the documentation file, it does help to secure your practice in the circumstance of delayed responses from physicians with the detailed written order and therefore obtaining such is a best practice for your practice.

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