The decision to terminate the physician-patient relationship can often be tenuous and challenging. When a medical provider decides that he or she is no longer willing or able to care for a patient, it leads the medical practice to make a decision that can end up with an unexpected outcome if the relationship is not terminated in an appropriate manner.
Accusations of abandonment and malpractice have occurred when this process isn’t handled correctly, which is why it is highly recommended that a checklist is followed and correspondence with the patient is documented and includes all necessary elements. It is important to note that this process should not only be followed by physicians, but other medical providers, including but not limited to nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).
The resources in this toolkit are essential to make to process simple and avoid abandonment.
- "Breaking up doesn’t have to be hard to do: Terminating the physician-patient relationship" — This September 2019 MGMA Connection magazine feature outlines many of the compliance considerations of terminating the physician-patient relationship.
- Provider-Patient Relationship Termination Checklist
- Provider-Patient Relationship Termination Sample Letter
- Consider These Strategies Before Terminating the Physician Patient Relationship