The Pennsylvania Medical Board and The Pennsylvania Code both have rules and and regulations for closing a medical office. These rules and regulations deal primarily with the handling of medical records and other important documents, such as unused Pennsylvania controlled drug prescription pads.
Notify the State Medical Board
The Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine and the Pennsylvania State Board of Osteopathic Medicine have a form called Voluntary Surrender of License. If you are no longer in practice you must complete and send the form to them. If you are surrendering your license due to disciplinary reasons you must disclose this to the board. Upon approval of your application to voluntarily close your practice, send the board your original hanging certificate and your most current license issued by Pennsylvania. If you are a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine you must provide this information to the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine.
Sell Items of Value
If you are a solo practitioner and you have not sold your medical practice but are closing it, you might be able to receive compensation for your investment in equipment and office furniture.Organize your inventory and sell those items that have retained values. Sell medical office equipment through classified advertising locally, in the newsletter from the Pennsylvania Medical Society or by a broker. A list of Pennsylvania buyers and sellers of used medical equipment can be found in the Resources.
Your patients need notification three to six months before you close your medical practice to retrieve their records or have them sent to another doctor. You may wish to refer patients to another Pennsylvania physician you think will be compatible. Arrange to store all records that have not been picked up or forwarded to another physician for the period required by Pennsylvania law. The law requires that records are kept for seven years after the time of the last patient visit. If the patient was a minor the last time he seen by you, the record is kept for two years following age of majority. Shredding records of patients who have been inactive for at least seven years (except for minor patients who have not yet reached majority plus two years) fulfills compliance practices with HIPAA information privacy regulations. Make sure you shred unnecessary documents such as patient charts, billing records, insurance information and prescriptions.
Like all medical practices, those in Pennsylvania usually have a large accounts receivable. Send frequent reminders to patients who have no insurance or owe money for their deductibles or uncovered treatment. Resolving disputed insurance claims before closing your practice is easier than doing so after closing. Support staff is available while you are still practicing to help resolve disputed claims.
Alan Edwards began writing in 2005. He is a retired pharmaceutical industry analyst, a career that allowed him to hone his research and writing skills. Edwards holds a Master of Business Administration in health care from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Pittsburgh. Now, he writes full-time.