Some doctors are refusing to see their patients when the patient has been involved in a motor vehicle collision. A recent telephone discussion about a teenage boy we represent will illustrate the point. The boy’s mother called their long time family physician to make an appointment for follow up care for injuries the boy sustained in a collision. He had been admitted to the hospital and kept overnight for observation and told to follow up with his primary care physician. When the primary care physician office learned that the reason for the follow up was because of a motor vehicle collision they refused to make the appointment. They informed the client that the doctor would not see him. The mother was flabbergasted. She and her entire extended family had been patients of this doctor for decades. All of her children saw this doctor. Her brother, sister and their families saw this doctor yet he refused to see her son merely because he had been involved in a motor vehicle collision. The boy and his family had good health insurance coverage that would pay for the visit, just like any other visit to the doctor. The excuse was that somehow the doctor’s office would not be paid.
We read insurance policies all the time. In thirty years of practice, I have never seen a health insurance policy that somehow excluded coverage for motor vehicle collisions. Health insurance policies simply don’t do that. What most health insurance policies do is they have provisions in them for the health insurance companies to get their money back. (Read the article “Coming full circle”) The worst we have seen is a provision that the health insurance policy will pay for treatment related to a collision as a backstop to other available coverage. But they do not exclude coverage for such treatment.
So why do some doctors not want to see injured patients? I can only guess, but I think the real reason is most doctors do not want to be involved in the claim process. They don’t want to have to fill out a form or provide records outlining the injuries that happen in the collision. I can understand if the doctor wanted to charge some extra amount for their time in having to do the paper work involved in an injury case, and many do. But to tell patients that they won’t see them because they have been involved in a collision is morally wrong and speaks volumes about the character of a doctor that would turn his back on a patient in need.