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Patient Termination or Discharge Letter Sample

By 21 March 2024May 9th, 2024No Comments
notify patients termination letter

How Do You Write a Compliant Patient Termination Letter for Patient Dismissal?

Any medical setting is a stressful environment for both patients and providers. Sometimes, patients may not cooperate with the healthcare professionals while receiving consultation or treatment. It compels providers to end patient relationships that are no longer therapeutic or appropriate. However, providers and patients can decide whether to have a relationship. You might accept someone as a patient. However, later, they don't prove to be a good fit. It's vital to correctly terminate this relationship. Here, you need effective patient termination or dismissal letters to formally end the connection.

notify patients termination letter

Ending the relationship can leave patients and practices with emotional baggage. However, these letters must be drafted calmly to terminate the relationship professionally. An antagonistic or accusatory tone in your patient dismissal letters can put oil to the fire. Patients can get furious over these actions and demand an ethics investigation or a lawsuit.

We know you don't want to invite such trouble to your practice. This blog is the perfect place to learn how to write the ultimate patient dismissal letter. We will also explore some concrete reasons for sending patient termination letters. 

What is a Patient Termination Letter?

A patient termination letter is an official document for formally ending a physician-patient relationship. There could be different reasons behind a patient's termination, like misbehavior, refusing to pay, failure to keep appointments, etc.

The physicians must use professional language and a formal tone to avoid controversies and disputes. Ensuring the patients have enough notice is vital to ensure the decision does not violate legal or care plan agreements.

What is a Patient Discharge Letter?

A patient discharge letter may also refer to a hospital discharge letter. It represents a brief medical summary of a patient's hospital admission and treatment. Usually, one of the ward doctors prepares this letter. 

You can send a dismissal letter with a return receipt requested, helping you know when recipients receive it. Have your physician or healthcare provider provide the reason for the termination. However, please contact the state medical board for legal advice before they decide to dismiss a patient to comply with the state requirements. 

Reasons Behind Patient Termination Letters

A medical setting could be a tense environment for patients and providers. Some relationships could be inappropriate or unsuccessful. It requires careful documentation to end these relationships with proper patient records. 

You must inform the patient before terminating your patient-physician relationship. Since angry patients might spread misinformation, try having a copy of your medical interactions, which are concise and answer questions or concerns, to avoid an allegation.

State why it was necessary to terminate your relationship and have the person select another physician to treat their medical condition. 

Here are the primary reasons a public health or private physician may consider terminating a Medicaid or other patient:

Follow-Up Noncompliance

Some patients repeatedly cancel their follow-up visits and don't keep up with their appointments with providers or doctors. For these individuals, it is better to draft a patient discharge letter. 

Treatment Nonadherence

It takes proper adherence to medication and treatment plans to cure a disease. Some patients might disrespect the importance of these plans or therapy regimes. We cannot convince them enough to follow their care needs. 

Verbal Abuse or Violence 

Sometimes, patients, a family member, or a third-party caregiver get rude to office employees, providers, or other patients, vendors, or visitors. It is often the most common reason behind patient termination letters

In some extreme cases, they would also use disparaging or demeaning language or sexually harass people. Don't stop yourself; immediately draft a patient termination letter due to behavior and avoid any liability. 

Office Policy Nonadherence 

Each provider can have different office policies in place. 

For example, a clinic has specific policies for appointment cancellations, prescription refills, or refusal to adhere to continuity of care. Many providers would simply release a patient dismissal letter in such scenarios. 

Inappropriate or Criminal Conduct 

Some patients could even display inappropriate sexual behavior or participate in drug diversion or theft in the practice. Treat these patients with full strictness and release proper patient termination letters to avoid risking your staff's lives. 

Nonpayment 

Some patients can have a massive backlog of bills or simply refuse to pay for healthcare services. You cannot risk your medical board with such patients. 

Display of Firearms or Weapons 

Healthcare premises must showcase a feeling of safety and security. Imagine a patient, a family member, or a third-party caregiver wielding a firearm or weapon on the premises. It could be life-threatening for your staff, other patients, and others. 

How Do You Write a Patient Dismissal Letter Due to Behavior?

Experts often recommend seeking alternative options and communicating with the patient before sending a discharge letter. Any negligence could lead to a negative online review, impacting your reputation. Please check for spelling errors, and ensure that you don't include any unreasonable reason, jeopardizing the reputation of your medical care.

There's no getting it back once the review is live. You can contact a patient over the phone to build a personal connection. It is a serious decision to terminate a patient as it comes with ethical and legal risks. You can also consult an attorney or insurance company. 

Physicians often seek professional, legal, and reputational consequences before drafting patient discharge letters. You can start evaluating your decision by asking yourself the following questions; 

Understand Why the Patient is Non-Compliant? 

What exactly is causing the issue? Is it a patient's behavior, noncompliance, or lack of payments? You can merit patients based on their willingness to cooperate, their caregivers' dedication toward the patient's care, unpaid bills, the insurance plan, and other factors. Check what the states require you to consider to avoid malpractice insurance conduct, discrimination, and more factors.

Review Your Internal Process Before Patient Termination

  • It is vital to have robust internal processes to handle such cases. Can you optimize your processes if the patient is having trouble making/keeping appointments? 
  • Can you provide any help or education to make the payment process more accessible for the patient?  

Provide a Precise and Documented Warning in the Patient Dismissal Letter

  • Documentation is necessary to point out the consequences with a warning. 

Patient dismissal letters are vital because you may still have the obligation to provide care. Individuals could even take legal action if you show negligence on your part. 

Best Practices for Patient Dismissal Letters

Expert physicians advise following some best practices while drafting patient termination letters. It makes the job a lot easier and lowers the risks. 

Come to the Point in the Letter 

Don't drag out the process with long paragraphs and unnecessary explanations. Your patient discharge letter should get to the point. You can start by saying, “This letter is to notify you that we are discharging you from our medical practice.” 

The patient must get a clear idea about the purpose at a single glance. There's no point in wasting anyone's time in a professional setting. 

Give reason(s) for the Patient Discharge 

Your patients may want explanations behind the patient discharge letter. Clearly explain the reason (s) for terminating the doctor-patient relationship. It could be any one of the reasons that we mentioned above. 

Provide a Precise Deadline to Find a New Provider

It is impossible to fire an effective patient immediately. Each US state has specific requirements for patient termination letters. It is similar to sending an eviction notice. 

For example, the state of Texas requires a “reasonable” notice. Depending on their medical requirements, you must give enough time to the patients enough time to find another doctor. 

Notify About Emergency Care 

You must provide emergency care to your patients until they find a new provider. An ethical practice can also offer to refill prescriptions during this period. 

Ending patient-provider relationships on a healthy note is a good practice. It can protect your practice's reputation from bad reviews. 

Assist the Patient in Transfer Medical Records 

Patients have the legal right to obtain a copy of their medical records directly from your practice. You can also help in transferring them to their new provider. The patient termination letter also needs an authorization note to release medical records. 

Things to Remember Before Sending Patient Dismissal Letters

Many providers often find it complex to draft an effective patient termination letter. They must consider the following information to streamline the process like butter; 

Study the State-Specific Requirements 

Each of the 50 states in the US has specific requirements for terminating patients. You must read these state-specific requirements before sending a patient dismissal letter

In some states, patient abandonment can even mean medical malpractice. For example, you must be extra careful if you operate in CA, DC, DE, MO, NY, OH, TX, etc. There can be minute differences within the same state under several government programs. 

Contact the state's medical society for better recommendations if you have trouble understanding these requirements.  

Provide the Patient Sufficient Time to Change

A discharge letter for patients is a measure of last resort. Providers can give patients multiple chances to correct the issue. A clear outline of concerns and a resolution process is necessary to help patients. 

There could be multiple notifications before sending patient dismissal letters. Some patients would show efforts to make a change. It helps both the patient and provider to restore their doctor-patient relationship. 

Document Every Process for the Patient Dismissal Letter

Even the most insignificant event is worth documenting for your practice. This practice helps you vocalize your relationship concerns before sending a patient termination letter. 

In the patient's file, you must include every detail about phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings. Clear documentation helps firms establish transparent communication and better relationships. Be very specific about your communication and their response. 

Notify Your Patient 

Simply telling a patient to find another provider doesn't work. A formal patient termination letter in proper format is mandatory. Experts suggest using direct mail instead of electronic communication to show the urgency of the matter. 

Notify Your Staff in the Medical Practice

After sending the letter, practices must inform their staff of the patient's departure. It helps keep everyone on the same page and in the communication loop. For example, if the patient calls the office, the staff will know how to respond. 

Patient Termination Letter Example

Sample Patient Dismissal Letter for Behavior

Date: XYZ
Patient's Name 

Address Line 1
Address Line 2 

Patient Number: 

Dear Mr./Mrs/Mrs. 

I am writing to formally discharge you from my medical facility as a patient. We will provide emergency care as necessary between now and (date of termination). 30 days should be enough to let you find another practice that provides orthopedic care. 

We do not like to discharge our patients. However, I observed that you have been disrespectful to my staff on multiple occasions. Such behavior degrades the quality of the patient/provider relationship. It also makes it hard to provide your ongoing care. 

We will happily send your new practice a copy of the records upon request. We deeply regret that our relationship must end on these terms. For further classification, you can contact us and talk to our specialty.  

Sincerely, 
Your Name 

What's the Best Method to Send Patient Dismissal Letters?

Experts recommend sending patient termination letters via direct mail. However, there is no legal requirement regarding mail methods. Certified mail requires a signature from the recipient, so people receiving these letters cannot claim they never got them. 

We can say that direct mail is a more practical and professional option to notify your patients. However, many firms send patient discharge letters electronically via email or text messages.

How Do You Handle Negative Patient Reviews?

Patients will likely leave a negative review upon receiving a termination letter, even if they do not agree with the reasons in the letter. Therefore, you must be ready to respond to a negative review effectively.

Negligence in this stage can damage your healthcare firm's reputation. New patients will also think again before becoming your customers. Some firms even hire a dedicated reputation management team to mitigate the risk of reputation damage.

Here's how you can successfully write a response to a negative review;

  • Show gratitude wherever necessary. Thank people for their feedback, even while replying to a negative review. It shows how dedicated you are to patient satisfaction. Many ignore this vital point and miss negative reviews.
  • You can specify policies and procedures to provide a better explanation. However, always stay within the HIPAA guidelines.
  • Take criticism objectively and try to learn something from it. People might use harsh words in their reviews. You must be professional while dealing with such reviews.

How Can PostGrid Help You Send Patient Termination Letters Efficiently?

As you know, direct mail is the best method to send all your patient dismissal letters. However, traditional physical mail is slow, untrackable, and less personalizable. A fully compliant delivery network is also necessary to let you adhere to HIPAA compliance.

PostGrid print and mail API could answer all your concerns perfectly. It is a fully automated postal API that lets you send personalized letters, checks, or postcards at any scale.

You can pull data from your EHR or EMR management system to send patient dismissal letters. Integrations are blazing fast with any existing tech stack. Healthcare professionals can define custom workflows to send these letters at their convenience.

The API gives healthcare professionals unlimited sending possibilities. It works with full compliance and secure logs per HIPAA, PIPEDA, GDPR, and SOC-2 standards.

Your patient termination letters reach smoothly, timely, and confidentially. The variable data printing technology lets professionals add predefined and custom variables with each mailpiece and resource. Our HTML template editor allows you to quickly customize patient dismissal letters.

Sign up now to send patient termination letters via automated direct mail.

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