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RULE §108.5Patient Abandonment

(a) A dentist, without reasonable cause, shall not abandon a dental patient. Once a dentist has undertaken a course of treatment, the dentist, absent reasonable cause, shall not discontinue that treatment without giving the patient adequate notice and the opportunity to obtain the services of another dentist. A dentist shall exercise the level of care necessary to prevent jeopardizing the patient's oral health during this process.

(b) Under this section, a dentist shall give a minimum of 30 days written notice of his/her intent to discontinue undertaken treatment. Notice shall be either hand-delivered to the patient or sent via certified mail, return receipt requested to the patient's last known address, with the dentist retaining a copy of the notice letter in the patient's file along with proof of service. Adequate notice shall include the following:

  (1) a short description of the patient's current status, including the patient's current diagnosis and a summary of the patient's current treatment plan;

  (2) a short description of the patient's present and future needs;

  (3) an explanation regarding the consequences of non-treatment;

  (4) a recommendation that the patient continue care with another dentist; and

  (5) a clear statement emphasizing that the dentist is available to provide any emergency treatment necessary to prevent patient harm during the 30-day period.

(c) A dentist shall remain reasonably available to render any emergency treatment necessary under (b)(5) of this section for up to 30 days from the date of such notice.

Source Note: The provisions of this §108.5 adopted to be effective February 20, 2001, 26 TexReg 1494; amended to be effective April 14, 2002, 27 TexReg 2826

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