• Colorado Verbal Order Authentication Requirements
  • November 5, 2010
  • Law Firm: Faegre & Benson LLP - Denver Office
  • The Colorado Legislature gave the gift of more time to hospitals this year when it passed a law that extends the time period for hospitals to authenticate verbal orders. As a general rule, the Medicare conditions of participation for hospitals require authentication of verbal orders within 48 hours, unless State law provides otherwise. 42 C.F.R. § 482.24(c)(1)(iii). Colorado law was silent on this issue until earlier this year, when Governor Bill Ritter signed House Bill 1229 outlining specific verbal order authentication requirements for Colorado hospitals.

    Effective May 5, 2010, the new statute requires verbal order authentication by a physician or another authorized individual within 48 hours, unless the hospital has adopted a read-back and verify process, in which case authentication must take place within 30 days of the patient’s discharge. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-3-111. To take advantage of this extended 30-day timeline, the hospital must develop a process whereby the verbal order is immediately read-back to and verified by the ordering physician or authorized individual. Once verified, the individual taking the order must document in writing that the process was followed.

    Consistent with CMS and Joint Commission guidelines, the statute also maintains that verbal orders are to be used “infrequently” and that the statute should not be interpreted “to encourage the more frequent use of verbal orders by” hospital medical staff.