Citizens frequently call our office complaining that their doctor refused to treat them any longer.
“He can’t do that, can he?” they often ask.
“I have been going there for years and all of a sudden I got a dear john letter.. or a we can’t treat you any more letter. Isn’t that against the law?”
Today’s Roanoke Times had an article about a local pediatric practice that is refusing to treat children whose parents have refused vaccinations.
When asked why the practice had made the decision, one physician explained:
“We are doing this for two reasons. First, we want to protect our patients,” said Dr. Robert Gard, one of the practice’s physicians. “And also to let people know in the community as a whole how important this is and that it is a danger to our community not to vaccinate our children.”
Can they do this?
Can a nursing home ask a patient to leave?
Can a home health agency stop service for non-compliance?
YES. YES to all of the above.
While it is unethical (and can lead to civil lawsuit) to abandon a patient who you know has no other access to care and treatment, there is nothing illegal about a health care provider ending a relationship or refusing to provide care.
Its like any business.
If you don’t play by the rules – they can end the business relationship.