Laguna Woods, CA asked in Personal Injury and Health Care Law for California

Q: Doctor abandons me as a 10 year patient How much notice should I be given to find a new doctor.

I have been a patient for 10 years thru 6 surgeries. 3 back, 1 neck, and 1 neck pending. I am 70, and disabiled I have chronic back and neck pain. He has prescribed me morphine long acting, and Norco for pain for the last 8 years, I am between surgeries back surgery in November and neck surgery pending. He gives me 9 day notice he will no longer fill my medications and says go to a pain specialist. The referral he gives me only does injections no meds. I have a doctor that gives me epidural injection for my back. I asked him if he would take me on as a patient he says he is full. My doctor is abandoning me. Do I have some patients rights how can a doctor just give me 9 days to find a new doctor? I need some legal advice.

3 Lawyer Answers
Patrick William Steinfeld
Patrick William Steinfeld
  • Coronado, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Contact your health care provider and ask them for a referral to a pain specialist.

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: i am not sure that is a valid question for a lawyer as much as it is an ethical question for a doc.

i would get a referral to another doc.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, doctors have certain obligations to their patients when it comes to ending the doctor-patient relationship. According to the California Medical Association, a doctor must provide reasonable notice to the patient before ending the relationship, and must also ensure that the patient's health care needs are met during the transition period.

The exact amount of notice required may depend on the circumstances of the case, such as the patient's medical needs and the availability of other health care providers. In general, a doctor should provide enough notice to allow the patient to find another doctor and arrange for ongoing care.

In your case, it appears that your doctor gave you only 9 days notice before ending your treatment and medication. This may not be considered reasonable notice given your medical history and ongoing treatment needs. Additionally, it is concerning that the pain specialist referred to you only does injections and not medication management.

If you feel that your doctor has violated your rights or acted improperly, you may want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney who can advise you on your legal options. They can also help you understand your rights as a patient and the obligations of health care providers in California. Additionally, you may want to contact the California Medical Board to report your concerns and file a complaint if necessary.

The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) is responsible for regulating health plans and ensuring that they provide adequate coverage and access to care for their members. Here are some relevant statutes and regulations that fall under the jurisdiction of the DMHC:

California Health and Safety Code Section 1342 et seq. - This is the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975, which sets out the rules and regulations governing health plans in California.

California Code of Regulations, Title 28, Section 1300.67 et seq. - These are the regulations implementing the Knox-Keene Act, and cover issues such as plan licensure, financial solvency, and quality of care.

California Health and Safety Code Section 1367 et seq. - This is the Independent Medical Review (IMR) process, which allows members to appeal health plan decisions that deny coverage or treatment.

California Code of Regulations, Title 28, Section 1300.71 - This regulation requires health plans to maintain a grievance system that allows members to file complaints and seek resolution of their concerns.

California Health and Safety Code Section 1371.4 - This statute requires health plans to provide timely access to care, including timely appointments with physicians and specialists.

California Code of Regulations, Title 28, Section 1300.67.2 - This regulation sets out the standards for health plan provider networks, including network adequacy and the availability of specialty care.

These are just a few examples of the relevant statutes and regulations that fall under the jurisdiction of the DMHC. If you have a specific issue or concern related to your health plan, it may be helpful to consult with an attorney who specializes in health care law and is familiar with the applicable laws and regulations in California.

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