On Abusive Patients

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Terminating a Patient Relationship

A while back I was speaking with the manager of a medical practice. She was voicing her concerns over a verbally abusive patient. It appears that he was upsetting the entire office staff with his language and behavior.

I assured her that this is not acceptable behavior and a practice has the right to terminate the relationship with a patient. There are certain guidelines that are recommended to follow prior to ending the care.

First, send the person a return-receipt letter stating that you will no longer treat the patient. State the reason for the termination as well as a 30-day notice. Offer to refer the patient to a new physician. Let the patient know that you would be willing to forward his/her medical records. Finally, depending on the situation, contact your attorney or medical malpractice carrier and inform them of the action.

I truly believe that it’s unacceptable for any patient to be rude to staff members. A medical office is there to serve and help patients, not to be mistreated.

As always, I welcome your comments on this subject as well as other practice management issues. Feel free to e-mail me at donna@officemanagementsolution.com.

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