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Sunday, December 21, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Informer: Doctors should tell patients of practice closure

Last Modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 10:54 AM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

A doctor recently retired in Lake Charles, and the two new doctors aren’t accepting his patients? Shouldn’t the doctor have called or sent a letter letting the patients know?

Yes, according to a position statement posted on the website of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.

“Physicians may not abandon patients. Accordingly a physician should give written notice to patients who have been seen within the 3 years preceding the date of closure or moving to enable the patient to arrange for care with another provider and/or obtain copies of their medical records,” the statement reads.

“The notice should be sent to the last known address of the patient no less than 90 days before closing or moving the practice. The notice should specify who to contact for a copy of the record or to request transfer of records ... .

“The Board should be notified as well. Failure to notify patients when a practice is closing or moving depending on the circumstances may be considered abandonment of the patient which is a violation of the Medical Practice Act.”

Online: www.lsbme.louisiana.gov.


LC sewer fee based on water use

By what formula or process does the Lake Charles water company assess the sewer fee in the monthly water bill?

Sewer rates are based on how much water customers use.

The rates, according to the city’s website:

Less than 2,000 gallons of water — $13.23 in the city; $26.46 outside the city.

2,000-19,999 gallons of water, per 1,000 gallons — $2.97; $5.94.

More than 20,000 gallons of water, per 1,000 gallons — $4.09, $8.18.

For more information, call the water office at 491-1307.

Online: www.cityoflakecharles.com.


Ex-spouse must meet criteria for benefits

Say you’ve been divorced for over 20 years and your ex-spouse dies. What are the rules for you to be able to collect Social Security from that person after their death? Is there a certain amount of years you have to be married?

To receive benefits, a surviving divorced spouse must be at least 60 years old (or 50 and disabled); must have been married to the ex for at least 10 years; can’t be entitled to a larger Social Security benefit on his or her own record; and must be unmarried (or remarried after 60 or remarried after 50 while eligible for benefits).

“The benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse will not affect the benefit amount paid to other family members who receive benefits on the same record,” reads the Social Security Administration’s website.

For more information, call 800-772-1213; the TTY number is 800-325-0778.

Online: http://ssa.gov

• • •

The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com

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