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Patient Abandonment


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I have been at the same location since my graduation from PA school in 2002. For years it was just me & my doc, but in 2015, my supervising physician retired and sold the practice to a large company. I stayed on, as did most of our patients, but I am growing weary of corporate medicine. I have not worked with another provider in over two years...my current supervising physician is brilliant and approachable but 55 miles away. I have met him once, talk to him on the phone maybe once a month. The company tells me they are “actively recruiting” for our location...whatever that means! I don’t mind working independently but I am really tired of feeling like I am shouldering all the responsibility with very little support from corporate. 

So, now I have received this incredible job offer and I think it’s time to bail. I will be in the next Town over so as to avoid issues with my non compete (actually closer to my home!) My question...do I have to worry about patient abandonment legal issues? I would hate to get my supervising physician in trouble...this mess is none of his making...but I can’t imagine my octogenarians traveling 55 miles to see him. I don’t think I can count on the company to hire someone else during the 2 mos that I will have to work my notice. There are other specialists in the area...should I reach out to them? I don’t usually think of this as a PA issue but since there is no longer a doc in the building do you think I need to be concerned? And is this my problem or the problem of the corporate monster I currently work for?

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What you have is a job. Your commitment to your current patients is commendable but trust me... I have learned through hard experience.... that your leaving will have the same effect as throwing a pebble in a pond. It will make a few ripples and then be like you were never there. It is a big world and we each inhabit a small and generally insignificant piece of it. It is kind of a hard reality but the world there will continue uninterrupted.

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Agreed, this is not patient abandonment.  If you say owned the practice and one day just closed up shop and walked away, that would be abandonment.  You don't own the practice.  You are giving your contracted length of notice.  I understand being there for so long that you feel like your abandoning long patient relationships.  With the corporate take-over of medicine, I feel moving around as a primary care provider is becoming much more common then staying in one place your entire career. 

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