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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27881
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I have a consultant contract with a company for 1 hour per

Customer Question

I have a consultant contract with a company for 1 hour per client per week, for a total of 6 clients, which equals 6 hours of contract work. My consulting is for RN services. The clients have a developmental disability and attend a Day Program Monday thru Friday. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from the Day Programs (3 involved) recently with normal daily issues that do not need RN intervention. Sometimes the Resident Manager is called other times not. The administrator makes all of the policies and procedures for the daily operations of the company and their Resident Manager enforces them.  One of the programs recently sent a letter addressed to me and cc others that referred to a document signed by the Administrator acknowledging a procedural issue of how medication is to be delivered to the program from the facility.  Another program clearly stated their expectations if and when they call me. Do I have a contractual obligation to respond to the Day Programs?

Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 10 months ago.

Good morning Marie,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. Does the company you consult for own the Day Programs?
2. Does any of your contract work deal with the Day programs?
3. Please explain what it is you do for the patients, and how it is, and should be, different from what you are being additionally asked to do for the day programs now?
4. Do you have a specific contact in the company---who you report to? Presuming so, have you discussed this demand for additional work by other areas of the company, with them?
5. What does your contract state that your obligation is these 6 hours a week?
6. Are you having to work more than 6 hours a week now because of the calls you are getting from the Days Program?

Doug

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

1. 1 of the 3 is owned by the company.


2. The contract doesn't specifically identify the day program. I am a member of the interdisciplinary team according to the contract.


3. I make the doctor appointments, attend monthly meetings for ongoing staff training, attend annual and semi annual meetings, refer clients to be seen by the doctor, assess ongoing issues that arise, make updates to all medication prescribed, keep in contact with all physicians and coordinate all 60-Day Order Updates with signatures, make all monthly medication record sheets, toileting records, seizure records, care plans, and monthly reports that includes weight and vital signs. I also submit re-authorizations for long term care placements requiring physician signature and Client Program Coordinator signature thru the Regional Center. The program usually calls and informs me of a red mark on someone or a scratch. One time someone needed to be transported home due to screaming and seeming to be uncomfortable. I'm not involved on a daily basis there at the facility, I think the first line of contact should be the manager or the house staff to see if something occurred and if so what was done. Then the home usually contact me to let me know what transpired and see if any recommendations are needed. This is effective because they know what happened, when it happened and what they immediately did to resolve the issue for example, put ice on the bump, cleaned the area and applied Band-Aid, elevated the feet, tried to console, etc. etc.


4. The contract doesn't say who I report to but I usually discuss issues with the Administrator, he has the authority. My contract has not been signed by anyone, just me. I'm still new just started in June 2013, and observing the direction of things it seems as the programs are being more demanding as time goes on. I plan to have another job in the near future and need to set some parameters. I have visited all of the programs and I have done training at one and gave informational info to another. The problem is minor daily issues that the Manager or the Lead staff can easily resolve, as they oversee the daily operations.


5. My contract hours are to oversee the medical area of the clients lives and ongoing inservice training at the facility for the staff. Regular update appointments, tests or evaluations needs based on age of client, dental, vision, hearing, colonoscopy, mammograms, etc..etc.. provide medication documentation sheets monthly, monthly toileting, weekly ID notes, call to schedule unexpected medical appointments. Make and maintain individual care plans. Make sure all medications even OTC have been prescribed (otherwise we are unable to administer) and are not expired. Train staff to administer medications. Do paperwork that ensures the company receives payment for services for long term care.


6. Yes, because it either requires 3 additional phone calls or a visit. When I can't get thru to the facility for example to find out if they are aware of the situation it's time consuming to keep calling back to get thru and then follow up with the program and then call back with the facility to settle the matter. When the program could have just communicated with the facility.


 

Expert:  LawTalk replied 10 months ago.

Good morning Marie,

Why are you taking calls for the day programs that you are neither contracted by, nor which are owned by the company you have a contract with?

You wrote: 4. The contract doesn't say who I report to but I usually discuss issues with the Administrator, he has the authority. My contract has not been signed by anyone, just me. I'm still new just started in June 2013, and observing the direction of things it seems as the programs are being more demanding as time goes on. I plan to have another job in the near future and need to set some parameters. I have visited all of the programs and I have done training at one and gave informational info to another. The problem is minor daily issues that the Manager or the Lead staff can easily resolve, as they oversee the daily operations. It sounds as though you don’t have a contract at all. Rather you have a set of expectations provided by the employer. As a licensed professional, and an independent contractor that is entirely inappropriate. You need a contract that not only describes your duties, but your rights as well---describes the person you respond to and the obligations you have to deal with third parties---both at your initiation and at the initiation of the third party.

For all you know, it may be that the management and house staff is simply saying---don't call me, call the RN.

Most importantly, you should be billing for all of the time you spend, not simply 1 hour a week, per patient.

Your primary question appeared to be:
Do I have a contractual obligation to respond to the Day Programs?

Your present document-----if it is not signed by the company you are providing services for, and which does not set out your rights, benefits and limitations on your job, really cannot be called a contract-----but at best a letter of expectation. Whether you have an obligation to respond to the Day Programs, or to provide RN services on their behalf and for their benefit simply because a patient that you have duties relating to through the employer happens to be at one of these Day Programs is not defined by the document, and you therefore have no way to determine where your obligations end to the patient and really who you are providing services on behalf of---the company who provided you the expectations document, the Day Programs or even the patient or their families themselves.

Right now, there is no limitation on your services in the document---and there needs to be. You need to sit down with the employer again and have a true independent contractor contract drafted that not only defines your work for them, but specifically states who you respond to and whom you need not. There is no logical reason that you should be responding to the Day Programs over minor injuries to the patients---not unless you are granted the right to submit a billing for each patient each pay period based on the time you are actually putting in.

Your employer hired you as an independent, yet seems to be treating you as an employee for work purposes, but as an independent for compensation purposes. You are the only one who can stop this before it really gets out of control. If that want you as an independent---then fine. But they must agree to treat you as such as well---meaning you work only for them---not third parties, unless you have the right to separate bill those third parties for things not directly related to your work for the primary employer.

For the moment is it impossible to discern from your document what your obligations are, and I submit that the employer has deliberately structured it this way to allow you to be taken advantage of.

Legally, you do not have any obligation to anyone other than the party who hired you. Calls from third parties which are not related to your specific duties imposed by the employer---such as John got a bump on his head at out Day Program---are legally not your problem until at least John gets back to your employer's facility.

Please keep in mind that, even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions.

If you have additional questions, you may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link and I will be happy to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.


I wish you the best in your future.

Doug


LawTalk, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 27881
Experience: I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
LawTalk and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Marie. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise. I am generally available at least 6 days a week, and often 7, and it would be my privilege to assist you again in the future.

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have, or simply ask for me by name in the first sentence of your new question:
http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-lawtalk/

Thanks again.

Doug

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It would be tremendously appreciated.

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