Break ups are never easy. But, often, they are needed. In the eyecare industry, it’s common for your patients to move on due to moving or changing insurance providers. But every once and a while, it’s not you, it’s them. While you want to have the ability to provide optimal care for all of your patients, some are less willing to cooperate. And, those are the times where it’s good to know how to effectively dismiss a patient from your optometric practice to protect the integrity of your practice and offer your patient a chance to find the care they need with an OD that’s a better fit for their needs.
So, how do you fire a patient? This post provides advice for when you are considering breaking up with your patient.
3 Steps For Firing a Patient from your Optometric Practice
Determine If The Actions Merit Termination
There could be a number of reasons to fire your patient. But, sometimes, the offenses don’t truly warrant firing, others obviously do. For minor offenses, it’s important that you weigh the circumstances and how keeping the patient will affect your practice, your staff, and your other patients. You should also look at their situation to determine if your long-term care is required due to a specialty.
Whatever the offense, document the incident in their file so you can refer to it if you have to fire the patient. You should also consult your lawyer to ensure the proper steps and procedures are taken to protect your practice, your patients, and your staff.
Warn The Patient
If issues progress and the offenses are something that could easily be resolved without dismissing the patient, sit down with the patient to understand why the incidents continue to happen and work towards solutions. Sometimes, the patient may not know any better, or they may be going through a difficult issue that could contribute to potential behavior problems. If you need to discuss offenses with your patient, do so in a friendly manner and work with the patient to find a solution. During the discussion, bring in your office manager to serve as a witness and document the discussion into the EHR software, so you have a record of it.
Write A Certified Letter
Sometimes, the situation does not improve. If the patient doesn’t change their behavior, or the actions are worthy of immediate termination, then you need to work with your attorney to draft a certified letter to inform the patient that you will no longer be able to see the patient.
Here are some tips on drafting the letter:
- Provide at least 30 days of notice
- Give the reason for termination (optional)
- Offer a few options of where they can find a new OD
- Offer to send their records at no charge
- Document when you sent the letter
- Request a return receipt
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