Patient Handling

How does a dentist legally dismiss a patient from his or her practice?

The American Dental Association Legal Division’s publication Terminating the Dentist-Patient Relationship: Questions & Answers offers guidelines for dentists who want to dismiss patients. Generally, a dentist should compose a termination letter that states the reason for dismissal and forward it to the patient, giving him or her at least 30 days to find another dentist. The dentist must remain available to treat any emergency conditions that may arise within those 30 days. PDA strongly recommends that dentists consult their attorneys to make sure the basic elements of their termination letters comply with all special legal requirements in Pennsylvania. 

Can a dentist charge patients a fee for missing appointments?

It is acceptable to charge patients a fee for missing appointments. Many dentists post signs in their offices or print statements on appointment cards to make their patients aware of this policy.

PDA staff is happy to answer members’ queries about a variety of topics. If you have any questions, call (717) 234-5941 or send an email.