Health care providers, administrators and insurers often find themselves testifying before regulatory bodies or otherwise being questioned under oath, for example, in a deposition. In such situations, it is prudent to adhere to the following rules.
1. Always be respectful.
2. Always tell the truth.
3. Telling the truth, means not guessing at an answer. If you don't know an answer, say you don't know.
4. Listen carefully to each question, pause before you answer the question, and answer the question succinctly.
5. Pausing will give you time to formulate your answer, give your attorney time to interrupt, and will avoid you getting into a rhythm where you answer a question without giving the answer sufficient thought.
6. Answering succinctly also means not volunteering information. This means not talking about what you had for breakfast, and it means not making commitments to study something and report back at a later date. If a questioner wants you to study something, and report back, let the questioner ask you to do so, don't volunteer to do so.
7. If you do not understand a question, it is okay to pose a question to the questioner. For example, "Do you mean X?", or "If you mean X, then the answer is Y."
8. There is no such thing as "off the record."
9. If you are asked if you discussed your testimony with your lawyer, you should say, "Yes," if you did. (Remember, always tell the truth.) If you are asked if your lawyer told you what to say, answer, "No, all my lawyer said was for me to tell the truth," assuming that is what your lawyer told you.