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Is it legal for a doctor to blacklist you?

I wouldn't normally put this question publically, but I could really use some advice. I have chronic migraines and about 9 years ago found myself in the E.R. I then began seen a local neurologist but had a LOT of problems getting appointments, medications, and basically being heard as a patient. I called my insurance company to find another neurologist and asked Neurologist A for a referral. 

Fast forward to about a year ago when my migraines flared up again to more than 6 a month. By now I had a new Family Doctor who, after trying several treatments, referrerd me to Neurologist A. Well,  Neurologist A call my Family Doctor's office and said he refuses to see me because I was a disgruntled patient 9 years ago (honestly, I forgot all about the incident until it was brought up. It was 9 years ago. I got married, had a baby, life went on.). Furthermore, all the specialists who are affiliated with Neurologist A in my city also refused to see me based on what happened 9 years ago.

My Family Doctor says that Neuro A is ethically wrong, as are all the other specialists, but there's really nothing she can do. I'm now faced with the real possiblity of moving hours away or to another state just to get to a neurologist that may be able to treat me.

My question is, can doctors blacklist patients list this? I didn't file a complaint with the AMA or anything, just asked for a referral for another doctor. Is this legal? I'm beyond frustration at this point.

Thanks ladies.

Answer Question

Asked by AsiaCansler at 2:58 AM on Oct. 3, 2011 in Health

Level 9 (345 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • I don't think its illegal. If you were a pain in the butt to him and his office I think he has every right to refuse service.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:00 AM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • It's not illegal. They have a right to not see you. It's not life threatening so there is nothing you can do but find a neurologist elsewhere. Sorry. Doctors can be real jerks. They have never walked in our shoes for a day and sometimes they just don't listen. When we get upset, they act like they haven't done anything wrong, when they have. They hold all the cards. Especially the specialists. Good luck. I hope your migraines get better.

    Answer by Jeanetts at 3:19 AM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • It's not illegal, unfortunately, unless they're refusing emergency room care. Are you on an HMO? Check to see if that affiliation is merely an IPA (medical group)... if so, it's the IPA that blacklisted you. You can change IPAs at any time; you have to call your insurer. However, you may have to lose your primary care doc.

    You can also call the local medical board.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:23 AM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • No, not illegal. They decide who they accept and don't accept as patients.

    Answer by mom2lyl at 3:23 AM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • You can also consider just commuting to see the specialist, rather than moving. If you find a good one who can get you treated, you may never need to see the specialist beyond once or twice. Well worth driving a few hours and not moving.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:25 AM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • Thanks ladies. It's funny. I didn't call the medical board or anything like that because I didn't want seen as a pain in the butt. LOL His is the only neurology practice in the area so basically when he said no, all the other neurologists in town fell in line. I have travelled out of state to see another specialist and while doing that once or twice may be feasible, my migraines are severe to the point that said he'd need to see me every month and that's somewhat of a challenge I'm trying to work out. 

    It's just very frustrating that some doctor's egos are more important than their oath. 


    Comment by AsiaCansler (original poster) at 3:37 AM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • I would try to speak to the doctor if I were you and resolve whatever issue triggered this. You have nothing to lose.

    Answer by GomezMami2908 at 6:05 AM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • I they can refuse to treat you. As long as back then they gave you proper notice and a chance to find other care. I'm sorry you're going through this. It sucks that you can't find a specialist now, due to something that happened so long ago.

    Answer by myree85 at 10:22 AM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • I have tried to reach the doctor to A) figure out what exactly I did that he found so offensive and B) find a way to resolve it but I haven't had any luck. My own doctor contacted the practice and while the other neurologists in the practice expressed some sympathy for my situation (one even gave her the name of a specialist a few hours a way that she refers her own patients to), they pretty much all said the same thing.

    As far as proper notice goes, I had no idea this happened until two days before I was supposed to see this doctor again. My doctor made the appointment with the neurologist and I waited three months. Two days before the appointment their office called my doctor and said that I would not be able to be seen. I guess I would have felt better if I didn't have to wait the three months to find out he didn't want to see me!

    Comment by AsiaCansler (original poster) at 12:42 PM on Oct. 3, 2011

  • File a complaint with the state. Now you have reason to be a disgruntled patient... so go get him!

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:12 AM on Oct. 4, 2011

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