Is your hospital redirecting your patients to employed physicians?
This patient letter may help
Last week, the Association of Independent Doctors wrote a letter on behalf of one of our members, who, like many of you, had witnessed his local hospital repeatedly redirecting his patients to employed physicians. We wrote a letter to inform his patients about this referral dynamic, and help them avoid it. When hospitals redirect your patients for profit, they threaten the patient's continuity of care and undermine the doctor-patient relationship.
We are sharing a generic version of the letter here, and encourage you, if you are facing this problem, to customize the highlighted areas, then send it to your patients.
(YOUR PRACTICE LOGO HERE)
To make sure you continue to receive excellent and consistent medical care, I want to make you aware of a referral dynamic occurring at local hospitals that could threaten the doctor-patient relationship we have established.
On many occasions, when my patients have gone to the hospital for problems not necessarily related to their [fill in: heart problem, cancer, lung condition, etc.] the hospital staff has tried to refer them to a [fill in your specialty – cardiologist, oncologist) employed by the hospital. This is solely because hospitals stand to profit significantly when patients see doctors that are hospital employees, as opposed to independent doctors who have hospital privileges, like myself.
Please be aware: You are under no obligation to see this new doctor, and have the right to say you are under the care of another physician and have no intention of changing doctors.
This referral practice isn’t just happening at our local hospitals. All across the country, hospitals are redirecting patients away from independent doctors and to employed physicians simply so hospitals can make more money. This dynamic is harming continuity of care and undermining long-standing relationships.
In choosing [name of your practice] for your care, you have made the wise move of going to an independent doctor. Seeing an independent doctor -- rather than a hospital-employed doctor -- is one of the best ways to lower your medical costs and keep the doctor-patient relationship strong.
Seeing a hospital-employed physician costs more because hospitals bill for their employed doctors’ services at much higher rates. Plus, they add facility fees, which can increase the cost of treatment by three to ten times. Hospitals also require their employed doctors to refer patients only to other hospital-employed doctors, again, so they can charge more while potentially compromising your care.
So, when an employed doctor tries to steer you to another employed doctor, remember: You have the right to stay with the doctor with whom you have established care. Be sure your family knows this, too.
Meanwhile, rest assured, by choosing [name of your practice], you’ve chosen wisely. We’re better and stronger together.
[Your signature, name here]