How To Write A Patient Dismissal Letter
Weve already discussed the importance of mailing a formal patient dismissal letter to the patients home address once you decide to dismiss them. Here are some pointers to help you write an effective and professional patient dismissal letter.
Your letter should be polite and professional. It is not appropriate to express anger even if the patient has treated you poorly. Outlining the reasons for dismissal and including any warnings you may have given will protect you in the event the patient tries to sue you.
Missed Appointment Letter For Dentists
You train people how to treat you.
Many dental offices are reporting that it is more difficult than ever to keep the schedule filled. Patients can be more likely today to cancel or fail their appointments. However it does not have to be this way! You can train your patients to value their appointments in your office.
One of the most common questions I get when I am presenting a course is, Should we charge a cancellation fee if the patient cancels an appointment on short notice? This is a great question and is a challenge that every dental office faces.
To begin to answer that question it is important to recognize the difference between a patient who generally keeps their appointments and the repeat offenders. You must have a system for dealing with the repeat offenders so they have some consequences for failing their appointments, otherwise you are condoning their behavior. This can be done in a firm, yet caring manner.
Below is the letter that our office sends to patients who have shown a pattern of broken or failed appointments. Feel welcome to use this letter as-is or modify it to suit:
We are writing in regards to your missed appointment on .
A missed dental appointment presents problems for us both. For you, a missed dental appointment causes a delay in treatment that was recommended to help improve your dental health.
We value you as a patient and look forward to seeing you for future appointments.
Give The Patient Time To Change
In many cases, it makes sense to engage with the patient and give them time to change the behavior that has led to the consideration of dismissal. This applies to things like no-show appointments and treatment non-compliance, but it does not and should not apply if a patient is verbally, physically, or sexually abusive to you or a member of your staff.
Any opportunity to change should come with a deadline. You dont want to leave it open-ended because it may lead to unnecessary anger if you do need to dismiss a patient. Give them a set period to comply with your requests, and if they dont, dismiss them.
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How To Dismiss Dental Patients Without Getting Sued
Have you ever fired a patient? Then you know how challenging it can be. Read on for guidance on how to dismiss problem patients without getting sued.
As a dentist, you probably dont like dismissing disruptive patients. Thats because you prefer to help them and to grow your practice rather than shrink it. Still, some people may become so abusive or so non-compliant that dismissing them is your only option. However, it should be a last resort, handled with great care to prevent future litigation.
Although many dentists are naturally reluctant to dismiss patients, its important to understand you dont have to treat every person who wishes to become a patient or all patients who want to remain under your care. You have the right to be selective in determining whom to treat. But when you refuse treatment, you must do so in a way that doesnt violate state law or dental-board standards. You must also give problem patients sufficient notice so they can find another dentist before you remove them from your practice.
When to Fire Patients
In some cases, patient behavior is so egregious youd be foolish not to dismiss them. For example, experts say youre justified in firing patients who engage in any of the following behaviors:
Patient Abandonment Defined
Patient Dismissal Dos
Patient Dismissal Donts
Options For The Practitioner
In the privacy of an office or an examination area, address your concerns about his behavior by indicating that the practice maintains a zero-tolerance policy for loud, threatening, or abusive behavior, and state that this type of reaction will not be condoned in the future. After you have completed his examination, suggest that he seek care elsewhere if he is reluctant to observe office decorum. If the patient indicates a refusal to comply, consider preparing and sending a letter terminating the relationship. If the patient fails to keep subsequent appointments or has notified your office that he will be seeking treatment with another provider, document the conversation and send the patient a letter confirming his decision to seek care elsewhere.
Sample Dental Patient Dismissal Letter
Subject: dismissal from dental plan
Dear Mr. Williams,
I am writing this letter to inform you about the cancellation of your dental plans with us. We have called you a number of times regarding your outstanding balance with our practice. I would like to tell you that we have many patients waiting for the surgery and we are going to allot your place to any one of them.
We have warned you verbally as well as in writing regarding payment of your bills. You still have 120$ to pay to us for your previous dental plans. I would like to request you to pay it as soon as possible. Otherwise, we have to take help from the court.
I would advise you to search for a new dentist as soon as possible as your tooth is decaying at a faster rate and this will lead to many oral problems in the future. You can find a new dentist from yellow page. Termination will be effective immediately.
Patient Dismissal Vs Patient Abandonment
Before we talk about how to discuss dismissal with a patient, we should explain the differences between patient dismissal and patient abandonment.
Patient dismissalpatient abandonment
It’s also worth noting that refusing to schedule a patient for additional appointments is not abandonment. If you have a patient who comes in for a routine cleaning and verbally abuses your dental office staff, you can simply accept payment, and never schedule them for another cleaning again. A formal dismissal procedure is not necessary and there would be no grounds for the patient to accuse you of abandonment charges.
We mention abandonment here because it is important to know the difference. It can be tricky if you have a patient who comes in for the first part of a root canal and is abusive. You would be at risk of legal consequences if you refused to complete the procedure.
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Breaking Up Is Hard To Door Is It Dismissing A Patient
From the Winter 2020 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association
Its Monday morningmorning huddle time. Theres that patients name on the schedule that makes everyone in the office cringe! You know who I am referring to: the person who wont let you take radiographs, wont let you do an exam but once every three years, and refuses routine dental care. Basically, its that patient who makes threats if you are not willing to treat them or not treat them based on their demands or is outright abusive.
The dentist-patient relationship is based on mutual trust and respect. This is commonly termed, rapportdefined by Websters Dictionary as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each others feelings or ideas and communicate well. Occasionally, there comes a time when this relationship becomes strained or no longer exists and you now have concerns about continuing dental treatment on this patient. Some other behaviors or actions that breach this relationship are: frequent no shows or last minute cancellations, non-compliance on referrals, ignoring treatment recommendations, refusal to obtain full and timely records for treatment planning, not following directions on medications prescribed, breaching financial arrangements , as well as being rude, threatening or abusive to your team and yourself. There are many other examples.
Elements Of The Written Notice
Include the following information in the written notice:
Reason: Although stating a specific reason for ending the relationship is not required, it is acceptable to use the catchall phrase inability to achieve or maintain rapport, state that the therapeutic provider-patient relationship no longer exists, or assert that the trust necessary to support the relationship no longer exists. If the reason for ending the relationship is patient noncompliance/nonadherence, that may be stated as well, along with your attempts to obtain patient compliance.
Effective date: The effective date for ending the relationship should provide the patient with a reasonable amount of time to establish a relationship with another practitioner. Although 30 days from the date of the written notice is usually considered adequate, follow your state regulations. The relationship may be ended immediately under the following circumstances:
- The patient has ended the relationship.
- The patient or a family member has threatened the provider or staff with violence or has exhibited threatening behavior.
- The patient participates in drug diversion, theft, or other criminal activity involving the practice.
- The patient exhibits inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct toward the provider or staff.
Transition of care: Indicate your willingness to speak with the patients new provider to help ensure a smooth transition.
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Dental Patient Dismissal Letter
No dentist would ever want to lose any of his patients. However, there are times when a particular patient becomes a nuisance to the doctor and unfortunately the doctor has to send that patient a dismissal letter. No doctor would want a “bad press” and it is wise on the dentist’s part to dismiss a patient if the doctor feels that the patient may badmouth the doctor all over the town. An impatient patient can really hold a doctor’s office hostage. He may come and constantly ruin the dentist’s schedule or may be always ready to debate the bill. Every dentist must have his own criteria for the dismissal of his patient dismissal. Generally bad behavior of the patient becomes the grave reason for the dentist to send a dental patient dismissal letter.
One thing that the doctor has to remember that leaving the patient all of a sudden is not acceptable as it is against the oath a doctor has to take while becoming the doctor. While drafting a dental patient dismissal letter, the dentist has to consider the severity of the dental problems the patient is facing. While mentioning the reasons for the dismissal of the patient, the doctor should also promise to provide emergency service to the patient before he/she seeks any other dentist.
Smile Dental ClinicSub: Dismissal LetterDear Sir,
This is to inform you that I do not wish to offer my services to you as your dentist any more. I will stop providing you dental care from April 13, 2011 i.e. 30 days from today.
Letter 2 Confirmation Of Patient
This letter is sent to confirm your decision to discontinue care with me. Your medical condition requires physician supervision, and it is important that you select another physician as soon as possible. I will be available to you until .
Please contact your health insurance plan or the county medical society for names of other physicians. Upon written authorization, I will provide a copy of your medical record to your new physician. A medical record release form is enclosed to expedite the process.
It has come to my attention that you have been sent several letters regarding your outstanding account with our practice. If there has been a problem or if you are unhappy with the care that you have received in this practice, please contact me to discuss the situation. You are important to us, and I hope we can resolve any issues you have.
My business manager is also available to discuss payment of your account or to set up payment arrangements if they are needed. Should we not hear from you within 30 days, it would be mutually beneficial to terminate the physician-patient relationship so that you may locate a new physician.
I hope that we will hear from you in the near future
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Letter 1 Termination Of The Physician/patient Relationship
Please be advised that I will no longer be able to treat you as a patient. The termination of our physician/patient relationship will be effective in 30 days from the date of this letter. Your medical condition requires continuing physician supervision, and it is important that you select another physician as soon as possible.
Contact your health insurance company or the county medical society for the names of other physicians. Upon written authorization, a copy of your medical record will be sent to your new physician. A medical record release form is enclosed.
Managing Dental Patients Dismissal
June 13th, 2022 by Tyson Downs
When Titan Web Agency works with dental practices, we almost always focus on acquiring new patients. We develop new dental marketing strategies, create PPC ads, and help our clients grow their practices and increase their profits.
While attracting new patients is essential, it can be equally as important to recognize when its necessary to cut ties with the dentist-patient relationship in your practice. Its a process that can be emotionally fraught and tricky. So, with that in mind, we have created this guide to managing patient dismissals with grace and at the end, well provide you with a link to download a free sample patient dismissal letter template that you can customize for your practice.
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Why Would A Dentist Dismiss A Patient
Lets begin by reviewing the reasons why a practice might dismiss a patient. In most cases, dismissal is not necessary. Dentists care about their patients and are often willing to bend over backward to retain them and ensure that they have the care they need to keep their smiles healthy.
There are circumstances when dismissal becomes necessary. A dentist has the right to dismiss any patient if there are differences that cant be resolved or if the patients behavior is unacceptable.
S For Withdrawing Care
Establish a written policy and procedure with a standardized process that addresses interventions prior to ending the relationship and the steps to take if it becomes necessary to dismiss the patient. Ensure that approvals for any patient dismissal go through practice leadership and the assigned provider. Medical or dental groups may consider dismissing a patient from the entire practice. This avoids an on-call situation that might require the practitioner who ended the relationship to treat the patient.
When the situation for dismissing the patient is appropriate, provide a formal written notice stating that you are withdrawing care and requiring the patient to find another practitioner. Mail the written notice to the patient by both first-class and certified mail with a return receipt requested.
Keep copies in the patients medical or dental record of all the materials: the letter, the original certified mail receipt , and the original certified mail return receipt .
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Time To Say Goodbye: Best Practices For Dismissing A Patient From Your Dental Practice
May 10, 2021
The dentist-patient relationship is the core of dentistry. Just like in any relationship, there inevitably will be a negative experience, and nearly all dentists will need to dismiss a patient at some point in their careers. Dismissals can be upsetting for patients and stressful for dentists. Regardless of whether you have conducted a patient dismissal previously, it is always good to review and possibly revise your dismissal procedure to ensure you follow the best practices for terminating the relationship. This will help you avoid facing any proceedings for professional misconduct.
When a patient displays a lack of confidence in their dentists abilities fails to adhere to instructed treatment plans misses appointments refuses to pay outstanding fees for agreed-upon payments or exhibits belligerent behaviour, terminating the patient-dentist relationship may be the only option. The dentist has the legal ability to dismiss a patient when the patient-dentist relationship has broken down beyond repair.
The following considerations will help minimize the risks that accompany dismissing a patient from a dental practice.
Support the patient in finding a new dentist. Help the patient find a provider who can assist with their current oral healthcare needs, or direct them to a dental association that can help locate a dentist accepting new patients in the area.
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Should This Patient Relationship Be Terminated
With any nonadherent patient, it is essential to document your recommendations, the patients continued noncompliance, your attempts to address the patients reasons for noncompliance, your efforts to help the patient understand the risks of nonadherence, and the patients persistent failure to follow the treatment plan and advice.
Terminate the relationship if the patient and provider agree that the patient would achieve better conformity with another practitioner. The written notice terminating this relationship should be explicit in stating the reason you are no longer willing to provide carethat the patients outcome is predestined to be unfavorable because of the willful nonadherence with recommended treatment plans. Suggest that the patient would benefit from a relationship with another provider, and state that continued care is an absolute requirement.
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