Patient Referrals

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) supports physicians and patients in making personal and professional choices regarding their access in healthcare.

Patients

Patients should have reasonable freedom to select their physicians, other providers, and healthcare settings. Importantly, whenever making a choice, patients and caregivers must be well-informed on the options available and possible effects of, and responsibilities involved with, each option. To this end, all medical and pharmacy plans should, to the fullest extent possible, provide transparency regarding:

  • coverage;
  • network, including credentials and quality of care of participating providers;
  • restrictions on patient access to services or goods; and
  • price and patients’ financial responsibility (including premium, deductible, and copayments)

Special circumstances may render limitations on choice; however, such circumstances should be clearly explained and free from coercion.

Physicians

Physicians should have reasonable freedom in the context of patient values, evidence-based care, quality, and value, to determine where and how to provide ethical medical care and where to refer patients.  (1985) (2018 October BOD)