Follow-up Care for an ER Patient That You’ve Already “Fired”

Q: I discharged a patient from my practice for noncompliance. Later I saw him in the emergency room, but he needed follow-up in the office. Must I now "reterminate" the patient if I do not wish to provide further care?

A: Yes. By treating the patient in the emergency room without advising him of the limits on that relationship, you established a new patient-physician relationship, and you must formally terminate that relationship.

For more information about terminating the patient-physician relationship, see our collection of questions and answers from the TMA Office of General Counsel, along with a sample letter to the patient and a sample authorization to release medical records.

Content reviewed: 3/13/2007

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