AZ Docs Mobile Notary Services started in Tucson, Arizona in 2019 and has now expanded statewide. Notary turned out to be an essential service in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. As banks and other service companies began to close their doors, the need for mobile notaries grew. The pandemic has changed the way healthcare and healthcare facilities operate. With changes, new opportunities arise while old ones go away. With the added convenience of voice searching from a smartphone “notary near me“, it’s easy to find a notary these days.
Notaries in hospitals must be able to identify patients and witnesses, as well as verify their signatures, in order to ensure that documents are properly notarized. Notaries in hospitals must also be familiar with the specific laws and regulations that apply to medical documents, such as consent forms, advance directives, and medical records. Notaries in hospitals must adhere to the same laws and regulations as other notaries, including the requirement to have a valid notary commission and to keep a journal of all notarial acts. Notaries in hospitals are usually employed by the hospital itself or by a third-party company that specializes in providing mobile notary services to hospitals. A notary in a hospital is a specialized notary that is responsible for verifying the identity of patients and witnesses, as well as notarizing documents related to medical treatments.
Notaries in healthcare facilities such as skilled nursing homes and hospitals have unique requirements. This includes circumstances with the family members, medical staff, and the policies for visitation. Notarization at hospitals requires extra time, compassion, and skill. Patients who need documents notarized may have challenges and issues such as mental alertness and singing ability.
Most patients will need some type of important document notarized. This includes durable and medical power of attorney and wills. In the state of Arizona, standard versions of these forms can be found on the Maricopa County Superior Courts website.
The major benefit of using a notary business that will travel to a property, assisted living, or other healthcare facility is convenience. However, it is often more than that. In many cases, people may not have the option to leave the hospital due to injury, illness, trauma, or pain.
Any notary service that is done outside of the hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facilities can also be done within. The difference is that hospitals have their own set of rules, such as specific visiting hours and the number of visitors.
Notary services in a hospital or healthcare facility usually charge a flat rate for convenience of $100-150, plus the amount of $10 per notarization stamp. "The average fee for a hospital notary is $10 per signature" (Source: Notary Rotary).
Traveling notaries with the willingness to go to emergency rooms where people may be sick, in poor health, or suffering may be limited. Scheduling an appointment with a notary that has healthcare experience is best. They will be able to ask questions and navigate a facility or place with little assistance and authority.
Here are some things to think about when looking for a notary in hospitals, hospices, and other healthcare facilities:
The total time it takes to visit a healthcare facility is substantial in most cases. Parking in the correct location and navigating buildings and hallways are a part of the task. Getting through the screening process once you are in the right building can also take time. Although healthcare facilities try to keep schedules, there are constant interruptions for staff. This means there will likely be a wait time if patients need care or are in the middle of care.
A signer or principal must be alert and aware of what’s going on before completing a notarization. If a patient is disoriented in a casual conversation or on one or more medications, it may not be appropriate to proceed. Being aware of a client’s behavior is not always easy, they could be healing from cancer treatment or surgery. There are many reasons why people are in healthcare facilities, so nothing can be assumed. If the principal’s family is acting aggressively, you might need to question if the signer is being pressured or directed.
A patient’s medical condition may make signing the document difficult or impossible. Arizona law limits the usage of signature alternatives to people who have the inability to sign their name or have a physical disability that prevents it. Witnesses cannot be a nurse, a doctor, or any person caring for the patient.
“If an individual is physically unable to sign a record, the individual may direct an individual other than the notarial officer to sign the individual’s name on the record. The notarial officer shall insert “signature affixed by (name of other individuals) at the direction of (name of individual)” or words of similar import” ( ARS 41-257 as per page 34 of the Arizona Notary Manual)
Some clients may not have their identification with them at a hospital, assisted living, or rehab. In Arizona, satisfactory evidence of identity includes:
A notary can use personal knowledge of the signer if the notary has known the individual for a sufficient length of time and the notary is assured that the signer has the identity claimed.
When a notary verifies a person’s identity using personal knowledge, the notary does not need to use witnesses or identification cards.
( Source: Page 18 Arizona Notary Manual )
Some clients may not have their identification with them at a hospital, assisted living, or rehab. In Arizona, satisfactory evidence of identity includes various types of identification documents.
If a notary does not know the signer (personal knowledge) and the signer does not have an ID Card (valid identification card), the notary can use a credible person to identify the signer.
A credible person must be someone who knows the signer personally. Some states refer to a credible person as a credible witness.
Most facilities have prescreening and visitor login requirements. This often includes taking a temperature and wearing a mask.
For these assignments, check with the facility directly about their policies. The person hiring you may not be aware of them or may have inaccurate information.
Only 60% of hospitals in the United States have a notary on staff (Source: Notary Rotary). This means 40% do not, and many times the employees are busy with other tasks creating opportunities to connect with families and signers.
A notary public's job is not to record statements or give advice. Their job is to make sure the people signing are who they say they are and are signing both knowingly and willingly.
If a signer has an alert mind and fully acknowledges the decisions in the contracts, then the notarization can proceed. such as a driver's license, passport, or other government-issued ID.
It is up to the mobile notary company that has arranged the appointment to operate with integrity or reschedule in the case of an emergency.
Mobile notary hours will vary from very limited to 24/7. "On average, a hospital notary will witness and verify the signatures of approximately 1,000 documents per year." (Source: Notary Rotary).
All notaries in Arizona must be commissioned by the state. Most notaries are certified through a Notary Association.
"Over 90% of hospital notaries are certified by the National Notary Association" (Source: Notary Rotary).
"Approximately 80% of hospital notaries are also members of the American Association of Notaries" (Source: Notary Rotary).
"Over 70% of hospital notaries are bonded and insured" (Source: Notary Rotary).