Sale of a practice

February 20, 2004

I'm buying a practice from a retiring physician who's agreed to transfer all of his patient charts as part of the sale. Must I obtain each patient's authorization before the transfer?

Q: I'm buying a practice from a retiring physician who's agreed to transfer all of his patient charts as part of the sale. Must I obtain each patient's authorization before the transfer?

A: No. You're permitted to use patient information without authorization for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations. The sale of a practice falls into the category of healthcare operations. Therefore, you needn't obtain patient authorization prior to the transfer.