Say it is a perk of democracy or anything else. But you, your patient, and anyone who is suffering are free to choose whom they want to consider for their treatments and yet you can choose to care for anyone seeking healthcare services to the best of your abilities. But ambiguities lie in the situations as you move on with your treatment. At any time of the treatment, if you think that this patient-physician relationship is not fit, it is better to issue a patient discharge letter for non compliance to terminate the relationship.
This is the time when patients do not comply with the treatment, do not follow the guidelines of the requirement, decline the appointments, engage in continuous disruptive behaviors, do not remit payments, or refuse to follow important health instructions. These common causes of patient non-compliance jeopardize the successful treatment.
In the medical healthcare industry, there are a set of rules that require physicians to provide a letter of termination highlighting the reasonable factors to terminate the care providing them the sufficient time to find another provider for the continuation of their care.
When you decide to terminate the physician-patient relationship, it often bears the emotional baggage of fraught between both the patient and the physician. This is why it is important to understand the language and tone you use to notify the patient about the termination.
An accusatory tone or an antagonist gesture in the letter would highlight the ethics of high authority’s involvement in the investigation and the risk of a potential lawsuit where you don’t need any of them.
What to do before you compile a patient discharge letter for non compliance?
Before you compile the letter of termination, it is essential to keep such things in mind that progress the process in the right way without creating a mess.
1. Check the state requirements
Before you compile a non-compliance, letter and make your patient aware of the issues, ensure that you know what the state legislations that you need to comply with while terminating a relationship. This is because issues can vary depending on the patients and treatments and so the state laws. For instance, Colorado mandates the physician to provide the patient a 45-day notice period which is 30-days in most of the other states.
2. Providing the patient, the time to find another physician
It is also necessary for the physician to consider the termination letter as its last resort. Before completely terminating the relationship, notify them and give them the chance for correcting the issues by sending reminders through emails and text messages. In addition, give them a clear understanding of the time frame that the relationship may not continue after a duration or if you need any specific measures to take from the patient – mention prior to the termination letter.
For example, if you are terminating the relationship because the patient did not show up, then you must notify the patient that further non-show-ups on the date of appointments will result in termination of the relationship.
3. Keep everything documented
Make sure to document everything if something is not documented, you cannot claim that it happened. No matter how insufficient it seems, keeping everything in documents especially payment contracts with patients. Every communication detail, no matter if it has been done over email, phone call, or any other medium, should be attached to the patient’s file. This is why be very vigilant while speaking with the patients.
4. Look for Mitigating circumstances
If you think that the patient is not well at the time you decide to send a non-compliance termination letter, it is often the best way to hold the relationship for some more time. For example, if you are aware that the patient is pregnant or met an accident because of which they cannot show up, then it is better to grit your teeth for the time being.
5. Notifying your patient
Directly sending a termination letter to inform patients that they are no longer able to receive your service will not save you from providing the services. You must specify the terms in your letter, warn them by giving a date, and highlight the specific terms needed to smoothly transit to another physician. Send the letter through mail requesting them to receive a return receipt. Once you get the receipts, save them in the patient’s file.
6. Notify your staff about your moves
Once you take the step for your last resort, it is important to notify your staff as well to deal with the patient’s unexpected visits. Therefore, if your patient calls for a visit or to take the information about the letter your staff would know how to deal with it.
Crafting a value-driven termination letter
Now you know the state requirements for the relationship termination, have spoken about the issues verbally and officially, and give them sufficient time to show up but all went in vain. It is high time to send the formal termination letter.
To avoid future complications, you must include some important elements in your termination letter.
Highlighting a reason
- Not every state requires a physician to specify the reason for terminating the relationship. But sufficient measures are necessary to avoid future complications.
- Patients neglect to show up on the day/date of appointments
- Patient’s inappropriate behavior toward the staff
- Failure to remit payments
- Physicians’ time of retirement
It is also important to keep the letter concise and to the point mentioning the reasons that eventually decrease the chance of legal liabilities. However, at the end of the day, the patient should feel that they care for their health issues.