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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116716
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am a physician in California practicing consulting

Customer Question

I am a physician in California practicing consulting practice which means primary care doctors refer patients to me for consultation and then they go back the PCP. I have noticed that recently my office gets calls about patients, who have had the visit with me in the office a few days ago, wanting to talk to me over the phone. I take care of a lot of patients and mainly the underinsured. I cannot free up the time to talk to every patient that has a special demand requiring consumption of my time for free. I have the following questions:
1) Will I be violating any law if I were to say to a patient who has special demands that I feel that I am unable to meet their demand and it is best that they find another specialist with the help of their primary care doctor?
2) If there are patients who want to definitely talk to me, can I charge them for my time (e.g. $60 every 10 minutes or part of it) as this kind of service is not covered by their insurance companies which usually pay for face-to-face visit and not for a phone call or a visit to satisfy patient’s curiosity after the evaluation and management service is already provided and is covered by them.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

If you are not the treating physician, you are not obligated to do anything more than what you agreed to perform, consult on their case. 1) You are not obligated to continue seeing or dealing with any patient, since your agreement was only to consult on a limited basis and that does not violate any laws or even rules of conduct. 2) If you want to offer additional phone consultations, you can do so by providing patients with notice that the additional phone consultations require payment up front and that is not illegal for you to do so.