A physician who loses a medical license must make exceedingly difficult choices concerning their practice. The physician may have signed a non-practice agreement or may have been suspended from practice. Whatever the circumstances, the loss of a medical license is devastating to the physician and to the patients they have served.
If the physician is part of a group practice, the process will be easier, but for a solo practitioner, it may involve the complete closure of a medical practice and will be more complicated.
A Checklist for Practice Closure (Temporary or Permanent)
- The physician should do everything possible to facilitate continuity of care.
- Public notices to patients should provide full and forthright information about the expected duration of the practice closure and should provide general information on transferring care to another physician or to finding emergency care, if needed.
- The practice must make provisions for the transfer of medical records to patients or other care providers, and should have a plan for long-term retention and storage of medical records.
- If any controlled substances are stored at the facility, staff must take immediate action under state or federal law.
Continuing Care of Patients
A physician facing a loss of privileges must provide advance notice to patients to facilitate continuity of care. Whether the loss is temporary or permanent, the physician must give patients the opportunity in advance to make alternate arrangements for medical care.
Notice to Patients
A practice typically provides notice through a letter sent to patients about the departure or temporary unavailability of a physician in a group practice or the closure of a solo practice. This notice should inform patients about the rights of choice of healthcare providers and access to medical records. Physicians should be forthright with patients, so that patients can make informed choices.
Inform and Permit Patient Choice of Replacement Provider
A departing physician must inform patients of their right to choose another healthcare provider, and they must forward medical records to this provider.
Retention of Medical Records
Every state has requirements concerning medical records retention. Whether a physician must retain a particular record is often a challenging issue without a clear answer. But the need to retain medical records is not suspended or altered because of the loss of a medical license.
Preventing the Loss of a Medical License
The best defense against the loss of a medical license is prevention. The Lento Law Firm Team can review your medical practice to see if you are using sound practices to avoid disciplinary issues. If you are concerned about an issue or incident, whether you have heard from the Medical Board, you should be planning action and defense. The sooner an experienced attorney can advise you, the better.
Nationwide Professional License Practice
If you are facing the loss of a medical license, know that it can be devastating, even for a short suspension. Do not face this fight alone. The Lento Law Firm is a nationwide professional license defense practice with experience representing medical professionals in all types of disciplinary actions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686, or contact them online to schedule your consultation.