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Essential Documents for SANE Programs

The type of program you create will determine what types of documents you will need as a SANE program. Hospital-based programs will not need to create a separate legal entity and will not require some of the document listed below. The SAFETA website provides examples of many of the required documents.

  1. Articles of Incorporation – These are created when a SANE program is developed as an independent legal entity. Incorporation under the laws of a state, when done properly, protects the management of the program from personal liability for lawsuits that arise from the actions of nurses or other employees. Many states have websites that will walk a business through the process of incorporation. It is recommended that you consult an attorney to make sure the program is created under the correct type of business configuration. 
  2. Contracts and Agreements – SANE programs need to create other types of contracts and agreements. These include—
    1. Employment contracts for nurses, other employees, and possibly for physician consultation. 
    2. Scope of Services: Some programs may contract with law enforcement, prosecutors, or other agencies to provide forensic nursing services. 
    3. Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) With Hospitals and Agencies: An MOU is typically an agreement between a hospital and a SANE program that allows the program to provide SANE care. It spells out the responsibilities of both the hospital and the SANE program. It may or may not have the same level of legal protection and obligation as a contract. Consult legal counsel when drafting an MOU. 
  3. Policies and Procedures – These documents describe specific aspects of program administration and the care given by the SANE. 
    1. Personnel policies should provide guidance about the employment expectations of the SANE, including scheduling, performance evaluations, salary, benefits, and grievances. Policies should also be in place that discuss sexual harassment, workplace violence, and discrimination.
    2. Patient care policies should create a minimum standard of care for the sexual assault patient. Patient care policies should be drafted in a way that allows for flexibility in order for a nurse to be able to adapt a procedure to meet the needs of the individual patient. For example, a policy may specify which forensic samples are to be collected, but the order may change depending on the situation. Strict policies and procedures that do not allow for change or adaptation may be used in a trial to question a nurse's credibility or competency.