Most doctors in Florida assume that their patients have good intentions when scheduling appointments. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. One of any doctor’s worse fears is unknowingly aiding a patient who is doctor shopping as this practice can have dangerous consequences, and those who engage in this practice may face legal charges.
What is doctor shopping?
Doctor shopping occurs when someone lies, intentionally leaves out information or otherwise deceives a doctor. This typically happens so that the patient can receive multiple prescriptions for narcotics like OxyContin or Valium, often because they have developed a substance use disorder. Doctor shopping is illegal.
For one, doctor shoppers might resell these medications to other people. If found guilty of this crime, the doctor shopper could face drug charges. Another reason why doctor shopping is illegal is due to the growing problem of people overdosing on various medications.
What about doctor-patient privilege?
While physician-patient privilege exists in Florida, there are exceptions to this protection. Florida law states that a doctor would need written consent from a patient to share their medical information with another party. However, a doctor must disclose this information if they receive a subpoena regarding a criminal case.
This is where additional laws come into play. In 23 states, doctor shoppers don’t have doctor-patient privilege rules in place. Considering how frequently patients travel far across state lines to visit different doctors, they can very easily find themselves in states with no doctor-patient privilege law and face additional charges.
Doctor shopping is a crime that could potentially place the future of any good doctor in jeopardy. Fortunately, doctors can help protect patients by using extreme caution when prescribing certain medications.