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Physician-Patient Relationship

An Oregon physician has medical, legal and ethical obligations to his or her patients.  In light of these obligations, it is the policy of the Oregon Medical Board that:

1.  Regardless of whether an act or failure to act is determined entirely by a physician, or is the result of a contractual or other relationship with a health care entity, the relationship between a physician and a patient must be based on trust, and must be considered inviolable.  Included among the elements of such a relationship of trust are:

  • Open and honest communication between the physician and patient, including disclosure of all information necessary for the patient to be an informed participant in his or her care.
  • Commitment of the physician to be an advocate for the patient and for what is best for the patient, without regard to the physician’s personal interests or the interests of any other healthcare entity.
  • Provision by the physician of that care which is necessary and appropriate for the condition of the patient, and neither more nor less.
  • Avoidance of any conflict of interest or inappropriate relationships outside of the therapeutic relationship.
  • Respect for, and careful guardianship of, any intimate details of the patient’s life, which may be shared with the physician.
  • A career-spanning dedication by the physician to continually maintain professional knowledge and skills.
  • Respect for the autonomy of the patient.
  • Respect for the privacy and dignity of the patient.
  • Compassion for the patient and his or her family.

2.  The relationship between a physician and a patient is fundamental, and is not to be constrained or adversely affected by any considerations other than what is best for that patient.  The existences of other considerations, including financial or contractual concerns are and must be secondary to the fundamental relationship.

3.  Any act or failure to act by a physician that violates the trust upon which the relationship is based jeopardizes the relationship and may place the physician at risk of being found in violation of the Medical Practice Act (ORS Chapter 677). 

4.  The policies expressed herein apply to all physicians in Oregon, as well as those who make decisions, which affect Oregon consumers, including health plan medical directors and other physicians employed by or contracting with such plans.

- Adopted 1998

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