Q & A: Patient Notification When Closing a Practice
The "what if's" and the "what should I do with" questions regarding closing a practice can make your head spin. Following are some recent questions posed to our risk management team about patient notifications when closing a practice.
Posted in Risk Management on Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Question: If a practice has a Facebook page how long should they keep it up after they close?
Recommendation: The Facebook page, and any website, should be used as a vehicle to provide notice of the closure of the practice. It should stay up for 60-90-days after closure if the practice is dissolved. Keep in mind that there may be state-specific requirements for notice issues.
Question: How long should an office keep a landline number after closing?
Recommendation: Again 60-90 days after closure if the practice is dissolved. Keep in mind that there may be state-specific requirements for notice issues.
Question: I have to notify all active patients about the closure. What is the considered cut-off of an active patient?
Recommendation: Active patients are considered, patients that have been seen within the last 2 years. When notifying all active patients of your closure you should choose 2 years from the date in which the letter announcing the closure was sent. The goal is to avoid patient abandonment and any claims that could be made whether in a civil action or with a licensing board.
Question: Is using email to communicate the closure of your practice sufficient?
Recommendation: Yes, however, if an email bounces back, you should send a letter.
Question: If patients receive a closing letter at their next visit do you still need to mail them another copy?
Recommendation: No, as long as a copy of the letter is in the chart and there is a note in the chart that indicates the letter was provided to the patient.
Question: If you use the patient portal, send emails, give out letters after a visit and/or send letters is it still recommended you place an ad in the local paper?
Recommendation: Yes. Again, the objective is to capture the most patients possible. The cost of an ad offsets a potential abandonment claim.
For more information on this topic or other risk management issues, visit our Risk Management Resource Center or email us with questions.