Financial Considerations
The most common reason for refusing to accept a patient is the patient’s potential inability to pay for the necessary medical services. Patients should be given some indication of the financial requirements when they make an appointment for treatment to prevent them from delaying making other arrangements for care while waiting for an appointment at which they will receive no treatment. A defensible decision not to accept a patient for financial reasons can appear questionable in retrospect if the person was injured by the subsequent delay in receiving medical care.
Some physicians will not treat certain individuals or classes of patients. Perhaps the most common restriction is refusing to treat patients involved in accidents that will lead to litigation. Some physicians refuse to treat attorneys. Many obstetricians refuse to treat a pregnant woman who first seeks care after the sixth month of pregnancy. These decisions are shortsighted in a competitive market and ethically questionable in a market where they may make it difficult for the affected persons to obtain care; but they are not illegal.