Once established, a dentist-patient relationship can only be terminated as follows:
- By mutual consent of the dentist and the patient;
- Revocation by the patient;
- Upon completion of the services for which the dentist was retained;
- If the patient is not in the middle of a treatment, withdrawal by the dentist after reasonable notice to the patient. A dentist can be liable for patient abandonment if he or she unilaterally terminates the relationship without reasonable notice at a time when there is the necessity of continuing medical attention.
EDIC would recommend sending a letter to the patient by both registered and regular first-class mail. In the letter, the dentist should state that there has been a breakdown in the doctor patient relationship, and without a good doctor patient relationship, he/she can no longer treat him/her. The dentist must also state in the letter that they will remain available for an emergency situation for a period of 30 days, and the dentist should refer the patient to the state dental society if the patient needs help in finding a new dentist.
For more information and to speak to an EDIC Claims specialist, call 800-898-3342
- I anticipate moving to a different state next year. I have a Claims-Made Policy. Will my EDIC insurance cover me when I move? What do I need to do?
- I work for a practice in North Carolina but I work a few hours a week at a practice in Virginia. How does my dental malpractice coverage work if I work in 2 different states?
- At what point in your dental career do you recommend hiring someone to help with financial management?
- What steps should I take when receiving a lawsuit from a patient or a notice from the licensing board?