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Letters
October 2, 2002

Patient Complaints and Risk of Being Sued

Author Affiliations
 

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;288(13):1585-1586. doi:10.1001/jama.288.13.1585

To the Editor: Dr Hickson and colleagues1 found that physicians who had received more complaints from patients were also more likely to be sued for malpractice. I wish to report another scenario that is related to billing and may generate complaints and lawsuits.

It is not uncommon, particularly for patients with Medicare and a secondary insurer, for 3 to 6 months to pass before they receive the first bill from the physician's office. The patients may then be dismayed to find that they are said to be 90 to 150 days in arrears on payment. This common practice cannot help but add a significant degree of annoyance and irritation and, if there are other areas of dissatisfaction, may well trigger a lawsuit.

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