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My Patient Won’t Wear a Mask: Now What?

October 22nd, 2020 by

fhlf mandatory mask articleBy: Karen Davila

For some reason, wearing or refusing to wear masks has become a point of personal expression and a topic charged with much emotion.  We hear stories every day about confrontations with consumers in the retail industry.  But what about when a patient refuses to wear a mask?

In many states and counties, face coverings are still mandated in public.  Failure to wear a mask can result in civil or criminal fines or penalties.  In a medical practice, even where not required by local authorities, masks may be required.  In fact, some of the state Boards of Medicine have adopted minimum standards for safe practice.  Those standards frequently include the requirement for both provider and patient to wear masks during all health care encounters.  Where the regulations or Board of Medicine standards require all individuals to wear face coverings, a health care provider is well within his/her right to enforce those regulations within the office where health care services are being provided and to discharge a patient who refuses to comply.  However, caution must be exercised when discharging a patient from a medical practice.

In general, the state Boards of Medicine do not require physicians to treat patients who are physically and mentally capable of wearing face coverings but refuse to do so.  But there are circumstances where a physician may have a duty to provide care and, in such instances, exceptions to the general rule may apply. read more

Direct Primary Care Agreements: How it Works and What to Consider

September 6th, 2018 by

direct primary care agreementsBy: Susan St. John

As the provision of health care services continues to evolve, many practitioners are contemplating creating membership-based services for their patients through Direct Primary Care Agreements (“DPCA”). Although DPCAs are not necessarily a new concept, the Florida Legislature enacted a bill during the 2018 legislative session making DPCA’s exempt from the Florida Insurance Code. Thus, DPCAs are not a form of insurance subject to regulations of insurance products but are private contracts between practitioner and patient for specified health care services. Here is how the DPCA concept works.

DPCAs are private contracts between patients and primary care providers. Section 624.27, Florida Statutes, defines primary care provider as a provider licensed pursuant to Chapters 458, 459, 460, and 464, or a primary care group practice, who provides primary care services to patients. Included under this broad definition of providers are: allopathic doctors, osteopathic doctors, physician assistants, anesthesiologist assistants, chiropractors, RNs, LPNs and ARNPs. read more

When A Patient’s Rx is Termination

June 14th, 2016 by

terminating a patientBy: Dave Davidson

There will likely come a time in your practice when you find yourself considering whether you should maintain a relationship with a patient.   It may be that the patient is non-cooperative.  Or the patient may refuse to pay his or her bill, or to follow a reasonable payment plan.  Even more significantly, the patient may have engaged in behavior that is disruptive to your practice.  For whatever reason, you are questioning the value of the relationship.

In those situations, the law does allow a physician to terminate a patient from his or her practice.  However, careful analysis must be done in these situations, and there are several steps that should be followed. The risk of a claim of abandonment or of professional negligence makes it important to protect yourself, your practice, and the licenses of the providers within your group. You may already have a process spelled out in your policies and procedures, and if you do, that process should be followed.  However, make sure your policy at least covers the points below. read more