Positive Outlook - Issue 10 - June 2015

  1. How do I terminate a patient who is non-compliant with their recommended treatment?

    Make sure you document the reasons for terminating the relationship in the patient’s medical record, as well as efforts made to avoid ending the relationship. A certified letter should be sent to the patient with a return receipt. A copy of the letter should also be sent in regular mail. You should give at least 30 days notice and indicate that you will provide only emergency care until the stated date of termination. (Please call our office if you would like a sample termination letter.)

  2. Who are the patients that are at high risk for filing claims and what can I do about it ?

    Unhappy and Angry Patients are at high risk for litigation!
    This may be secondary to personality, poor outcome, ill-defined expectations, or adverse events (e.g. post-op infection, wound dehiscence, unplanned hospitalization).

    • Research proves that unhappy patients sue.
    • Communication is critical. Physicians need to take the time to listen to the patient, understand
      what’s going on, explain the situation, offer options and set realistic expectations. Covering all aspects of the risk-benefit decision is key.
    • The conversation needs to be documented in the patient’s medical record. The informed consent alone is not enough.

    Rely on your intuition! If your meeting with the patient makes you nervous we recommend referring the patient to another practice. (This soft indication cannot be documented in the literature but it is a reliable marker from our experience.)