The risk of leaving hospital care to others

June 6, 2008

I've decided not to renew credentialing with one of the two hospitals in my town. If one of my patients is admitted to that hospital and the attending physician there calls me for a consult, do I have an obligation (professional or legal) to go? I'd like to just say that I don't go to that hospital, the attending physician should get another specialist for the consult, and I will take over the patient's care when he or she is discharged. Is there anything wrong with that?

I've decided not to renew credentialing with one of the two hospitals in my town. If one of my patients is admitted to that hospital and the attending physician there calls me for a consult, do I have an obligation (professional or legal) to go? I'd like to just say that I don't go to that hospital, the attending physician should get another specialist for the consult, and I will take over the patient's care when he or she is discharged. Is there anything wrong with that?

Not legally, but you'll need to protect yourself against a potential claim of abandonment. Make sure you communicate with the attending physician and the consulting specialist while the patient is hospitalized and, if necessary, afterward too. Keep in mind, though, that you could lose some patients if they decide they prefer the consulting physician's care to yours.

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