Avoid Liability When Parting Ways with a Patient

September 29, 2022

When does a physician-patient relationship officially start?

The relationship is established when a physician agrees to render care for a patient – generally as soon as an appointment has been made.

If necessary, how does a physician part ways with a patient? 

In general, a physician may withdraw from a physician-patient relationship as long as the relationship is terminated in the appropriate way. Patient abandonment is grounds for physician discipline under the Medical Practice Act.

Make sure you know how to say "good bye" in compliance with Illinois law! Access ISMS' resource, Physician-Patient Relationship: Withdrawal or Termination, covering the circumstances in which a relationship may be ended and when immediate termination may be possible. The guideline also includes model discharge letters that physicians can use to communicate with their patients when the physician or patient ends the relationship.

For your convenience, here are the sample letters:

If you have questions, please contact the ISMS Legal Division by email

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