AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. January 2005, Volume 7, Number 1.

Module 7

  • e-mail |

Case 7.3: Retainer Practices—But I Can't Drive

Option Comparison

In order to insure Mrs. Liles' continued access to appropriate health care, option B is preferred. By arranging for the other physician in town to accept Mrs. Liles, this option provides her with continuity of care without special fees. The standard "sufficient opportunity to make alternative arrangements for care" is met in that Dr. Young will continue to see already scheduled patients for the next six months. While option C—allowing Mrs. Liles to be part of a retainer practice without paying the retainer or receiving special benefits—is acceptable, it may become confusing for the patient in terms of what she can and cannot expect from the doctor. Option A—enforcing the transfer policy without attention to Mrs. Liles; needs—should be avoided on the basis that it shows lack of "courtesy, respect, responsiveness, and timely attention" to Mrs. Liles' needs.

Preferable: Option B

Acceptable: Option C

Avoid: Option A

Additional discussion and information

The people and events in this case are fictional. Resemblance to real events or to names of people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.