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Handling Patient Records During Retirement and Ownership Transfer of Your Medical Practice

When the time comes for you to retire as an independent physician, the opportunity for transferring ownership of your practice may be part of that execution. Contacting legal representation is the most important first step, as there are many areas to address including how that transition will flow via an asset sale, a stock sale, or even a merger. Each of these structures comes with its own legal and tax implications, making legal representation a requirement.

Legal considerations must also be accounted for when deciding on selling your medical practice. You may have several issues that will involve not just the physical properties, but contractual terms as far as compliance with state and federal laws, dealing with the full function of the practice, as well as handling your patient’s medical records.

We have had feedback from several practitioners who are in the process of retirement, so we put together a few notes that may benefit you as that process evolves from conversation to execution.

A well-executed transition plan is key to ensuring a smooth handover to the new owner, so it’s a good idea to create a checklist inside of a plan that can help manage micro tasks and changes associated with administration, staffing, equipment, property transfers, system access, and the transfer of patient records. Having a plan helps by mitigating disruptions to the running of your practice, and most importantly, taking care of your patients.

What should this transition plan include?

A SMART transition plan should address:

Patient Notification Process

Patient Medical Records*

Internal and External Staff Communication

Integration of Current Systems

Continuation of Procedures

Transition of Management Duties and Responsibilities

Onboarding of NEW Ownership (should that be part of your plan)

With the patient’s records possibly being transferred to a new owner, HIPAA regulations* govern the handling of patient information during and after the sale of a medical practice. Compliance with these regulations is not just a legal mandate but also crucial for maintaining the trust you have spent years building with your patients.

Tips For Transferring Patient’s Medical Records

➢ Your plan should address and explain the process of transfer, how records will be stored, and how long you will keep those records

➢ You may need to obtain patient consent for transferring medical records, so be sure you understand these requirements and put the correct legal processes in place to secure valid consent from your patients

➢ Physicians are the custodians and owners of medical records, so you must take special care regarding the retention or transfer of medical records

Is Your Medical Practice Using HIPAA Compliant Software to Address Data Privacy?

Extreme vulnerability exists when using older software, something to consider updating before the transfer of patient records. If you are still using a version of DMPE legacy software, you should consider an upgrade to Nuance® Dragon Medical One. Let us help get you started with a FREE Trial of the safe and secure Dragon Medical One, named #1 Best in KLAS for 2021, 2022, and again in 2023! | 866-977-3324 | 877-272-8280

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