Can a doctor leave a practice without first notifying their patients?
Question Details: I broke my leg a year ago and had been under my doctor's care. I was seen 3 months ago du to not being able to bend my knee. She suggested having manipulation done. So as soon as my insurance approved the procedure, which they did, she would call me with a date to have it done. I received a letter of the approval. Since I had not heard from her, I called and told them that I got the approval letter. The receptionists said that they got it as well and that her assistant would call me with a date. A week passed but I did not hear back from the assistant. I then called and told the receptionists that I hadn't heard back. She said that they needed to call the hospital first to get a date and that she would call me with that information. However, a week passed with no call. I noticed that my approval was going to expire. So I again called the doctor's office and told them that I hadn't heard anything and that my approval was going to expire in a few days. The receptionist put me on hold and when she returned back she started reading a letter saying my doctor left the practice and what she read to me was the letter that she was going to send all patients. However, I never got any letter informing me of her leaving. That was why the doctor wasn't scheduling any surgeries she said. I said, "After all the calling and waiting for a date for the procedure you are just telling me now that she left? Why didn't you just say she was no longer there?". I asked her what do I do now and she said that I could be seen by one of the other doctors there, which I did. I told him that I was supposed to get a manipulation done he said it was too late for that and now they were going to do surgery. This is what I wanted to avoid. So now the waiting game again. My doctor should have at least gone through with the procedure before leaving and notify me that she was leaving. I feel this is wrong.
It is morally wrong, but it is not legally wrong: there is no legal requirement on a doctor to advise her patients when she is leaving a practice (or, for that matter, when she is retiring, changing specialities, etc.). It could be a medical ethical violation, so you could potentially file a complaint against her (or against the practice, for also not timely notifying you) with the medical licensing board, but there is no legal recourse (i.e. you can't sue).