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Avoid Grounds for Discipline When Parting Ways with a Patient
Posted on: 6/3/2019

Q. When is a physician-patient relationship established?

A. When a physician agrees to render care for a patient – generally as soon as an appointment has been made.

If you wanted to part ways with a patient, would you know how to appropriately end the relationship?

In general, a physician may withdraw from a physician-patient relationship as long as the relationship is terminated in the proper manner. Abandonment, for example, is grounds for physician discipline under the Medical Practice Act.

To ensure that you stay in compliance with Illinois law, access ISMS' medical legal guideline Physician-Patient Relationship: Withdrawal or Termination.* This resource covers the circumstances in which a relationship may be ended and when immediate termination may be possible. The guideline also includes model letters that you can use to communicate with patients about ending the relationship. 

Questions? ISMS members may contact the ISMS Legal Department with questions at 800-782-4767 ext. 6485 or send an email


This ISMS medical legal guideline is a member benefit and is password protected.

If you need to request a username and password, contact online support at 888-476-7776 or onlinehelp@isms.org between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. After-hours requests are answered promptly the next business day. You may also register online or retrieve your username or password.

*This guideline is for educational purposes only. 



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