Attending Physician – You Have a Choice
By Victor Montour
Hospice beneficiaries have the right to choose their attending physician. The patient has a right to exercise his or her rights as a patient of hospice which includes the right to choose his or her attending physician.
“Attending physician” is defined as a:
(1)(i) Doctor of medicine or osteopathy legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery by the State in which he or she performs that function or action; or (ii) Nurse Practitioner (NP) who meets the training, education, and experience requirements.
(2) A physician identified by the individual, at the time he or she elects to receive hospice care, as having the most significant role in the determination and delivery of the individual’s medical care.
The election statement must include the patient’s choice of attending physician. The information identifying the attending physician should be recorded on the hospice election statement in enough detail so that it is clear which physician or NP was designated as the attending physician. The language on the election form should include an acknowledgement by the patient (or representative) that the designated attending physician was the patient’s (or representative’s) choice.
If a patient (or representative) wants to change his or her designated attending physician, he or she must follow a procedure similar to that which currently exists for changing the designated hospice. Specifically, the patient (or representative) must file a signed statement with the hospice that identifies the new attending physician in enough detail so that it is clear which physician or NP was designated as the new attending physician. The statement must include the date the change is to be effective, the date that the statement is signed and the patient’s (or representative’s) signature, along with an acknowledgement that this change in the attending physician is the patient’s (or representative’s) choice. The effective date of the change in attending physician cannot be earlier than the date the statement is signed.
Please Note: The attending physician elected by the patient may deny or refuse to follow a patient while in hospice services. This denial or refusal is not a reflection of the patient, doctor relationship. It is a result of the attending physician and his or her team not being available to the hospice team 24/7/365. Having a physician available 24/7/365 is critical for the proper management of a hospice patient. Front Range Hospice will always do what we can to ensure your attending physician continues to follow your healthcare needs. In the event we are not successful, our team will follow up with the patient, inform them of the situation and work with the patient on selecting a physician of their choice.
If you would like more information about Front Range Hospice and how we work with your attending physician please call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch out for our next blog: Hospice Care and Nursing Facility Relationships