Legal duties after selling

September 10, 2010

Understand legal responsibilities to patients once you sell your practice.

Q: I have been in solo practice for 20 years. Now I am planning to sell my practice so I can retire. What are my legal responsibilities to my patients once the sale is completed?

A: You have to arrange for storage and availability of your medical records in accordance with state law. Some states require that records be kept for 6 or 7 years. Many states require that if you treat minors you have to have the records available until they reach majority and then for the required number of years for adults. Generally, you have to notify patients as to where their records will be stored and where they can get their future medical care.

Most purchasers of practices seek to capture your existing patients and likely will want you to notify them in this manner.

Answers to readers' questions were provided by Alice Gosfield, Alice Gosfield & Associates PC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Kenneth T. Hertz, Medical Group Management Association Healthcare Consulting Group, Pineville, Louisiana.; Jack Rue Coleman, CHBC, Dental-Medical Economics, Plano, Texas; John Untener, Clayton L. Scroggins Associates, Cincinnati, Ohio. Send your practice management questions to medec@advanstar.com