Referral Rudeness Unnecessary from Colleague

August 29, 2011

I believe it is important to maintain a good relationship with our colleagues who refer patients to our practice. …I also expect a certain amount of decorum.

As a specialist, I believe it is important to maintain a good relationship with our colleagues who refer patients to our practice. On the other hand, I also expect a certain amount of decorum from our colleagues. 

Case in point - last week, my secretary had to take a very disconcerting message from a physician. He told her that I am not doing a good job, because he sends a lot of patients to us and never gets letters. He then said that he is going to stop referring patients to our practice. When my secretary asked him which patients he was speaking of, he said there are many, Mr. F for one, and then he hung up.

I would like very much to keep our referring colleagues happy, and would be happy to make changes in our practice, if they are reasonable, but I need to know where the issues are.

Now, first of all, if you have a problem with me and how I practice, tell me. Not my secretary. Me. Secondly, don't threaten me. And third, before you have your hissy fit, get your facts straight.

After I received Dr. X's message, I did a little investigating. Over the last 24 months, there have been a whopping 10 patients who list Dr. X as their referring physician. Of the 10, only eight have a written consult request from Dr. X. And of the 10, eight of them have a letter to Dr. X or a copy of the note has been sent to Dr. X., including Mr. F. Now this list does not include his patients who do not list him as the referring physician. Nor does it include his patients who come of their volition after he has told them that they don't need a specialist.

Now while I would love to continue to see his patients, I understand that it is his prerogative to send his patients elsewhere. But seeing as he sends less than one patient every two months, I don't think we'll be closing our doors any time soon.

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