Can my doctor stop treating me for no reason?

Yes, your doctor can stop treating you for any non-discriminatory reason.  However...(there's always conditions), there is a protocol that should be followed by your doctor before the doctor-patient relationship is terminated. While you have every right to end the doctor-patient relationship whenever you choose, your doctor does not.  There are simple steps that your doctor must take to end the doctor-patient relationship.

First, your doctor should not stop treating you if you have an unresolved medical problem.  For example, if you have had chronic chest pain for 3-4 months, your doctor cannot simply cut ties with you...or at least he/she is not supposed to.  Your doctor violates basic principles of his profession by discontinuing medical care while you are in the midst of an ongoing medical problem that has not resolved.  At a minimum, if your doctor wants to end the doctor-patient relationship, he must refer you to a physician who can treat you for your unresolved medical problem.

Second, your doctor should have a preliminary discussion with you regarding the reason for ending the doctor-patient relationship.  For example, if your doctor is concerned that you have not been keeping your appointments with him, he should discuss this issue with you in his office and document the conversation occurred in your medical chart.  Then if you continue to miss medical appointments, your doctor has documented that he took the preliminary steps to address the problem.

If you continue to miss medical appointments and you do not have an unresolved medical problem, then your doctor will send a letter by certified mail and regular mail giving you at least 30 days notice that you are terminated as a patient.  The  letter should state that your doctor will recommend a new physician for you if you wish and transfer your medical records to your new doctor.

If you are behind in paying your medical bills, your doctor should give you advance notice about the problem and give you a chance to get the payments up to date.  Some physicians do not accept your health insurance and may want to end the doctor-patient relationship for that reason.  In any case, your doctor is supposed to give you a chance to make alternative arrangements for payment before discharging you as a patient.

When doctors end the doctor-patient relationship, patients may feel abandoned.  Doctors must follow the protocol set forth for discontinuing patient care before they end the relationship with you.

If you have any questions or want more information, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 866-889-6882 or you can request my free book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victis, on the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.