Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about a pressing risk management issue? Our experienced Risk Management analysts have answers. From treating minors to retaining patient records to employee leaves of absence, chances are, your question has been asked before. The following is a list of frequently asked questions, along with practical solutions, that can help you avoid liability within your practice.

How do I discharge a patient from care?

A patient must be notified in writing. TDIC does not recommend dismissing a patient who is mid-treatment, i.e. in a provisional or temporary. You have the option of giving the patient a reason for the dismissal, such as non-compliance if they are not complying with active treatment requirements or necessary appointments. Alternatively, you may choose to dismiss with no reason, if the doctor-patient relationship has a loss of trust. Give the patient a reasonable amount of time to seek a new dentist. Often, 30 days from the date the letter was mailed is sufficient, during which time you agree to see them for emergencies only. You should provide valid referrals for the patient to find a new dentist, such as the local dental society, or refer them back to their insurance carrier, but do not provide specific names of other dentists. TDIC has sample dismissal letters that can be customized by your practice for withdrawing from care for your patients. Please contact a risk management analyst directly for sample letters or if you are unsure about your liability in relation to the dismissal.

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The suggestions provided represent experience and opinions of TDIC. There are no guarantees that any particular idea or suggestion will work in every situation. The ideas and suggestions contained in this document are not legal opinion and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice specific to your practice, you must consult an attorney. 

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