Q: What legal concerns are associated with our ministry opening a healthcare clinic?

A: Legal issues are a consideration when administering medical care as part of your ministry. Here are some things you can do to help minimize your risk of legal consequences.

  1. Educate yourself on state licensing and regulations for forming and operating a health-care clinic. They can include architecture, zoning, and building code requirements, to name a few.
  2. Screen all employees, volunteers, and independent contractors carefully. Verify that they have the appropriate licensure for their role in the ministry. Be sure to sign agreements with any independent contractors, outlining the details of the services they will provide.
  3. Create a risk management plan for your health care clinic to help manage risk and promote patient safety.
  4. Develop insurance and reimbursement policies and procedures for medical service payments by individuals, insurers, and federal and state government sources.
  5. Store medical records in a secure location. Make sure all employees, volunteers, and independent contractors understand all relevant medical information privacy and data security laws.
  6. Communicate medical information appropriately to each patient and each person authorized to act on the patient’s behalf for all medical procedures.
  7. Train all workers to use your ministry’s health and wellness equipment properly to avoid injury or equipment malfunction.

Seek Legal Advice

Church leaders should consult with a local attorney who can provide guidance on the many complex legal issues involved in opening a health care clinic. An attorney also can provide advice concerning the associated federal, state, and local laws.

If your ministry provides a full range of medical services, writes prescriptions, or dispenses prescription medication, talk to your insurance agent about a medical malpractice insurance policy.

Learn more details about ministry health care clinics by reading our article, Health Care Clinics at Church.

Visit our Safety Library to find other articles, publications and tools on wide range of topics relevant to your ministry.

*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.

The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.