Carolina Family Healthcare will drop patients who miss checkups

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Carolina Family Healthcare, an independent practice based in Charlotte, N.C., sent an email to patients in January saying it would discharge patients under age 18 who have not completed their periodic well-child visit, according to The Charlotte Observer.

The well-child schedule requires 10 visits within the first two years of a child's life and then every year after that, according to Carolina Family Healthcare's email.

"Beginning March 1, 2018, any patient under the age of 18 who has not had their periodic well-child visit will be discharged from Carolina Family Healthcare," the email said. The email emphasized the benefits of well-child visits, which include establishing relationships with providers and tracking each child's growth and development.

"We decided to require regular period well visits for children because not only is it extremely important to record your child's growth over the years, but we need to keep their records current, even if they don't immunize," Dino Kanelos, MD, president of Carolina Family Healthcare, told the Observer.

Carolina Family Healthcare's well-child schedule is similar to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, the association does not have a policy for discharging patients who do not meet the schedule.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health, formerly Carolinas HealthCare System, said it encourages wellness visits at intervals recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but does not enforce rules or policies about discharging patients from practices for lack of compliance with these visits.

Additionally, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health said wellness visits are important to maintaining community and family health. "While recommended, well-child visits are not mandatory and we do not discharge patients for not having a wellness visit," a Novant spokesperson told the Observer.

Atrium and Novant also said they do not have policies that require discharging patients for not getting immunizations.

These well visits not only work to improve and maintain patients' health, but can also provide an opportunity for parents to raise concerns about their child's development or behavior, according to Carolina Family Healthcare's email. However, the email advises patients to "Please be aware that, depending on the issues raised, an office visit may also be charged which may result in a co-payment."

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