I received a question today from someone preparing to close their practice. Sometimes this is a tough decision to make. Sometimes this is something that you have been looking forward to or an opportunity too good to pass up.
Regardless of how you get to this decision, when you decide to close your business,you will need to plan how you will continue to manage your patient records.
Closing or moving a healthcare provider practice takes co-ordination, patience, communication, and documentation. You will need to plan the continued administrative, technical, and physical safeguards of the patient health records.
Patients and clients have a unique trust with their healthcare provider. They trust that you will provide them continuing healthcare and continued access to their own health information that you have recorded. You are also expected to securely keep their personal health information and follow your professional college standards and health information privacy laws.
Manage Your Patient Records
You have a number of responsibilities when it comes to protecting the data you've collected from your patients.
Generally, you have a few options:
•Inform your patients that your business is closing and that they can request their patient records to be transferred to another provider now and provide your contact information that they can contact you in the future. (You must maintain the patient records for 10 + years.)
•Arrange with another healthcare professional (custodian) to assume the care of your patient records. This would be applicable if another professional bought your practice. This might be your successor custodian.
•You could arrange with a third party provider (like Iron Mountain) to be your contact person to receive requests from patients for their information and process those requests. They will take over the secure storage of your patient records. There is a fee to do this.
Before You Close Or Move Your Practice
Follow these 5 important steps before you close or move your healthcare practice to ensure your continued privacy compliance!
1. Inventory All Your Existing Patient Records
2. Patient Records Systems
4. Existing Documents
5. Privacy Impact Assessment Amendment Plan
Read the Practice Management Success Tip to find out more to assist you with your continued privacy compliance.
Updated! Practice Management Success Tip
In Closing or Moving Your Chiropractic / Healthcare Practice, you have access to template forms you can use right away, including:
- Sample Letter to Patients – Chiropractor's Notice of Absence or Closing of Practice
- Patient Record Transfer Authorization Form
- Moving / Closing Poster for Clinic
- Access to Patient Records
You also have access to procedure templates, so you can ensure that you keep an accurate inventory of your patient records, and that you record where they are stored or when they were destroyed.
These procedure templates include:
- Inventory of Patient Records
- Archive and Destruction Log
- Data Quality Assurance
- Quality Assurance Document Imaging (Scan) to EMR
Listen to the Practice Management Nuggets Podcast Episode #090
Ask me, Your Practice Management Mentor.