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911DOC
911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Emergency Medicine Physician
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can my doctor refuse to renew my prescription for blood pressure

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can my doctor refuse to renew my prescription for blood pressure medication because its been a year since my last physical? I have lost my job and along with it my medical insurance. I am on unemployment and cannot afford the cost of a physical and expensive blood work.

911DOC :

Hello,

911DOC :

I guess the obvious question is, have you asked your doctor?

911DOC :

and what is your medication?

JACUSTOMER-yjouodo6- :

Attenol is the medication. I have spoken with his nurse. They insist I come in for the physical and blood work. I have not spoken to the doctor.They keep telling me that is what he wants.

911DOC :

it's understandable from his perspective...

911DOC :

thinking about liability...

911DOC :

if he keeps renewing bp meds and you have something bad happen someday and someone gets angry and sues him does he lose? probably... probably loses in court...

911DOC :

also, he's probably genuinely concerned for you...

911DOC :

but atenolol is fairly benign and there should be a way for you to get it...

911DOC :

can you be seen in your local health department?

911DOC :

have you tried this option?

JACUSTOMER-yjouodo6- :

My question is can he refuse me the prescription I need to live? How can he force me to have a physical if I can't afford it?

911DOC :

of course he can refuse it!

911DOC :

atenolol can kill people in overdose... it can cause bad things to happen... syncope (passing out)...

JACUSTOMER-yjouodo6- :

I have thought to look into a clinic. So the answer is he can refuse me?

911DOC :

you are essentially asking if it is legal or not for a doctor to refuse you a service if you are not going to pay him....

911DOC :

in an emergency the answer is that you can not be refused...

911DOC :

he couldn't refuse life saving interventions...

911DOC :

but long term blood pressure managment is not an emergency...

911DOC :

yes, absolutely he can refuse you... he would be negligent to keep refilling your prescription without seeing you... he would not be a good doctor if he just kept refilling it....

911DOC :

what do you do for a living when you are employed?

JACUSTOMER-yjouodo6- :

I drive a bus. I understand everything you have told me about him being negligent. However, I am in a situation where money is tight and I do not qualify for Medicare yet. I guess the only solution is to seek a clinic.

911DOC :

a clinic is a good bet... the local health department can check your pressures and can refill your prescription... a few months of atenolol is about 4 dollars... the reasons to be checked are many....

911DOC :

do you smoke?

911DOC :

have you had a heart attack?

911DOC :

cholesterol problems?

911DOC :

family history of heart attacks?

911DOC :

are you diabetic?

911DOC :

are you overweight?

JACUSTOMER-yjouodo6- :

none of those things. I am reasonably healthy. That being the reason I thought the doctor could continue to renew the prescription.

911DOC :

and that does seem reasonable... at the same time it's a bad pattern to start with a patient... then you get that call from the ER that your patient, Mr X, has just had a heart attack and you realize it's the guy you haven't seen in four years but you just called in refills for him last week... and then you call your malpractice company and your attorney... sucks... just the way it is.

JACUSTOMER-yjouodo6- :

I understand completely, however, in 16 months at the most I would be eligible for medicare. For me, that would be the longest I would go without a check-up. I have always gone to the doctor on a regular basis. Now, circumstances, have left me without medical coverage and its difficult. I pay $200.00 per month for a hospital only policy. Thats about as much as I can afford.

911DOC :

i understand... are you in a big city or smaller town?

911DOC :

do you have a minute clinic where you are?

911DOC :

are you connected with the VA or do you have prior service'

911DOC :

?

911DOC :

also, would your doc consider letting you pay for the check up over time/

911DOC :

?

JACUSTOMER-yjouodo6- :

I live on L.I. No VA service. I don't know what a Minute Clinic is. There are clinics around. I have researched it already. I did hope somehow I could keep my doctor and not have to go to a clinic. I will however do so. You have been very helpful. I thank you for your time and advice.

911DOC :

you are very welcome... hope times change for the better for you soon.

911DOC :

good night sire.

911DOC :

'sir'

911DOC :

;)

911DOC :

hahaha

JACUSTOMER-yjouodo6- :

Not a sir. HA! HA!

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