January 1996 Bulletin

Amend ethics statement on physician-patient relationship

What is the ethical responsibility of the physician to a patient in a managed care setting if their enrollment in the managed care plan is discontinued?

The issue was addressed in changes in the Academy's Code of Ethics for Orthopaedic Surgeons, approved by the Board of Directors Dec. 8-9, 1995. An addition to section I.C. states:

"Managed care agreements may contain provisions which alter the method by which patients are discharged. If the enrollment of a physician or patient is discontinued in a managed care plan, the physician will have an ethical responsibility to assist the patient in obtaining follow-up care. In this instance, the physician will be responsible to provide medically necessary care the patient until appropriate referrals can be arranged."

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