Can Missed Appointments Trigger Medical Misconduct?

Your patients may rely on you to get back to a healthy state. For this reason alone, you must not let them down by consistently missing or being late to their scheduled appointments. Not only may this cause their physical, mental, and emotional well-being to suffer, but they may even accuse you of participating in medical misconduct. Read on to discover whether missed appointments can lead to a medical misconduct claim and how one of the seasoned New York physician defense lawyers at Walker Medical Law can help you ward off this liability.

Why is it important to avoid absences or tardiness with patient appointments?

Amongst the New York State medical community, it is considered unacceptable for physicians to be frequently absent or tardy to their patients’ scheduled follow-up appointments or ordered medical examinations. This is because a failure to make meaningful connections with your patient may lead to a serious delay in your diagnosing or organizing a treatment plan for them. In other words, this may result in your patient’s medical condition significantly processing to the point where it is no longer curable, along with possibly being terminal.

On the other hand, say, for instance, that your patient is the one who is adamantly declining or neglecting these appointments. In this case, you must still make a diligent effort toward following up with them and rescheduling their appointment. With this, you must also sufficiently inform them of how their medical condition may suffer as a consequence.

Can missed appointments with patients trigger a medical misconduct claim?

A patient may be prompted to report you to the New York State Department of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) for medical misconduct after missing enough appointments. What’s more, if they believe that their medical condition has progressively regressed due to these missed appointments, they may also file a medical malpractice lawsuit against you. With both of these claims, they may go as far as accusing you of having a drug addiction, alcohol abuse issue, or mental health issue that causes you to be frequently absent or tardy. Ultimately, such an accusation can threaten the status of your medical license.

Further, with both of these claims, a patient may submit proof that establishes your pre-existing patient-physician relationship. This is so they may effectively argue that you had a duty to meet the standard of care established by the New York State medical community. They may even argue for your negligence in scheduling necessary follow-up appointments, ordering necessary refills of their prescription medications, calling to inform them of their lab results, and much more.

Evidently, this is a worst-case scenario. But rest assured, our team at Walker Medical Law has experience in handling cases just like yours. So please do not be afraid to reach out to one of our competent New York physician defense lawyers.