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  • patient abandonment question California

    Hi, this is a long story so I'll try to keep it short..

    Basically I have had severe post partum depression since the birth of my daughter which my obgyn has been treating me for. I had an expected return to work date of Feb 27, which I communicated to my employer who hasn't been understanding of this situation in the first place. On my doctor visit on Feb 24th I told my doctor again that my medication isn't working (it has effectively reduced me to a zombie, which is not where I want to be) and I'm still having trouble/not myself. It is an improvement, but not enough of an improvement where I'm able to function. He has his reasons why he doesn't want to change it (mainly he's worried of the come down and starting over phase as it was so hard when I started the medication).
    Anyways, so he put me out of work another month, re evaluate at the next appointment. I contacted my HR dept. And told them the updated news, and they requested that the doctor note be faxed to them so they could make a decision on whether they could wait for me or not. I called the doctors office to ask for the note and the office manager told me that they couldn't give me one because they couldn't extend me any longer. I explained what the doctor had told me about extending/ re evaluating me in a month and she told me that they were unable to extend me, give me a note ortreat me anymore and that they had received a notice from EDD (disability) telling them that they were only an obgyn and I needed to see my primary care physician for further treatment. I explained to her I don't have a primary care physician, and that they are my only doctor. She told me I had to find one and to use my paid family leave until I did.
    None of this made sense so I asked EDD flat out of this was the case and they told me no, they never sent any notice, and that's not the case that any M.D. can treat me and authorize my disability and as soon as they do I would continue to receive benefits. My employer was not understanding of the situation and told me that since I didn't submit them a doctor's note, I was terminated for not returning on Feb 27th.
    I went back into the doctors office to speak with my doctor himself assuming this was a misunderstanding and he could help me, the office manager was rude, spoke to me in the lobby in front of other patients and staff and refused to let me speak to the doctor, she said she could give me a note but not fill out my disability paperwork or the doctor could lose his licence and I needed to be treated by a psychiatrist. I asked for a copy of the notice they received and she said the doctor received it in an email, but when I asked that it be printed she refused. I did manage to talk to my doctor who to my surprise told me the same story the office manager told. I told him what I had been told by EDD and he dismissed it, and when I asked for a copy of the notice he then told me EDD had called the office manager and told her by phone. I asked for a referral, or my record be sent to the new doctor (which I did find but can't see me until April) and he just told me to call the number on my card. I asked EDD again, and they said no notice, email or phone call was ever made and yes, an obgyn can treat and certify my disability, and to have my obgyn fill out my paperwork and return it as soon as possible since I have not had benefits since Feb 26 and not to use my paid family leave until I was no longer disabled. At this point I do not know what to do. I have enough medication to last me but I am out of money which I am depending on to pay my rent and bills(yes I pay my own bills). My therapist advised me that this is medical malpractice for patient abandonment and that they are required to give me 30days notice if they decide to terminate our relationship and give me a referral and my records. Thank you in advance to anyone who can help.

  • #2
    The only thing I know is to run this all by an attorney (possibly a medical malpractice attorney). You might be able to get an initial consultation for free.

    Others may come along with additional suggestions.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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    • #3
      Thank you, I'm sure it's not a case of interest since there's no possibility of a huge payout but I'm just upset this could even happen. This is my life and not something I take lightly. They have effectively caused me to lose my income, my job, and are interfering with my mental health and my ability to heal. I am now even more embarrassed of my condition and can think of no reason they would do this (i pay my bills and come on time to my appointments and never complain or disrespectful). At least give me some time to prepare. As it stands now I do not have the money for my rent, and by the time I get to see the other doctor my rent rent will be past due and accumulating late fees. And why? The only answer I get is a changing fabricated story about the EDD notice. At least tell the truth.

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      • #4
        My understanding, and I am not an expert, is that the 30 day notice applies only to medications - they have to provide you with 30 days' worth when/if they drop you as a patient. No specific notice is required otherwise. And to be honest, I'd be more inclined to believe the doctor's office than the EDD - without a specific date or document number it would be very easy for a huge bureaucracy to miss that someone else within the bureaucracy sent out a notice or made a call.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          Your OB is basically telling you that you are beyond the scope of what they are comfortable treating. That is legal. Every doctor is not a specialist in every condition. You need to find someone who can treat what seems to be more than just a case of the baby blues. It is not clear why you didn't get a note from your doctor at th appointment he told you to stay off for a month, or why you didn't at least attempt to return to work, but that is water under the bridge now.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            Have you contacted your health insurance provider? Are you on an HMO? Some plans might limit the amount of doctor visits to an OBGyn for something like PPD. They may only pay for say 3 visits before you must go to your primary doctor. Or you may have to be referred to a psychotherapist and the ObGyn is not allowed to do that direct referral.

            So it might just be possible that they got the source wrong, but the information correct. Or that EDD does have that policy and those you are speaking to are just not knowledgeable about it.

            I do agree that I would expect an ObGyn to pass PPD cases to a different provider after a certain amount of time if the basic Rx's aren't working correctly. While they can deal with the basic issue, that is not their specialty.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
              Your OB is basically telling you that you are beyond the scope of what they are comfortable treating. That is legal. Every doctor is not a specialist in every condition. You need to find someone who can treat what seems to be more than just a case of the baby blues. It is not clear why you didn't get a note from your doctor at th appointment he told you to stay off for a month, or why you didn't at least attempt to return to work, but that is water under the bridge now.
              Perfectly understandable that they were not comfortable treating me any longer-just be honest and professional and let me know so I can make other arrangements.

              As far as why I didn't attempt to return to work- I am not capable at this time, was that not obvious? I couldn't get a note initially because they were busy and told me they would fax it but I had to call when I got home to give them the fax number. They did eventually give me the initial note (and fax it) but at that point I had already been terminated.

              I am not sure why you are responding since you don't have any useful information which isn't already obvious and seem to be confused. Please don't bother responding if you are just going to attempt to judge, thank you.

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              • #8
                When you are asking for free advice from volunteers you do not get to be snippy with them; nor do you get to choose who does and does not respond.
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by hr for me View Post
                  Have you contacted your health insurance provider? Are you on an HMO? Some plans might limit the amount of doctor visits to an OBGyn for something like PPD. They may only pay for say 3 visits before you must go to your primary doctor. Or you may have to be referred to a psychotherapist and the ObGyn is not allowed to do that direct referral.

                  So it might just be possible that they got the source wrong, but the information correct. Or that EDD does have that policy and those you are speaking to are just not knowledgeable.
                  Thank you, I will look into this. I think it is a possibility that EDD just doesn't know the policy, which is why I have asked three different EDD employees, three times and asked the doctor office for the notice. It's just fishy that first they had the notice, then couldn't show it to me because it was in an email to the doctor himself, and finally they couldn't show it to me because it was received as a phone call.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cbg View Post
                    When you are asking for free advice from volunteers you do not get to be snippy with them; nor do you get to choose who does and does not respond.
                    I'm simply asking for courtesy.

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                    • #11
                      So are we. I saw nothing discourteous in any response but yours.
                      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cbg View Post
                        So are we. I saw nothing discourteous in any response but yours.
                        OK. In any case I think its obvious my dr was dumping me, and my questions are: is this legal (it seems so) and what are my options moving forward (find another doctor and just wait it out). Thanks everyone who gave a helpful and constructive answer.

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