Medical Practice Closure Considerations

We receive questions concerning the steps that are required or necessary in connection with the closure of a medical practice.  Typically, a physician who has devoted their entire life to the day-to-day practice of medicine is faced with numerous legal, accounting, and administrative tasks, some of which extend beyond the actual shut-down of the practice.  Planning, organization, communication, and administration are key elements to avoid issues after the closure.

Practice closure matters include but are not limited to:

Staff Notification: Staff of the practice should be notified of the closure.  A physician may have to prepare to hire temporary staff if employees leave prior to closing date.

Patient Notification: The State Medical Board of Ohio (“Ohio Medical Board”) has laws and rules pertaining to the notice that a physician is required to give patients.  These laws and rules include, but are not limited to, when notice must be given, the information that is required to be included in the notice, and how notice must be given.

Government/Payor/Agency Notifications: Notice concerning the closure of the practice must be coordinated and given to entities including, but not limited to, the DEA, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance payors, hospitals, professional associations, and the Ohio Medical Board.  Each entity may have different requirements.

Professional Liability Insurance: If necessary, extended reporting professional liability insurance (so called, “tail coverage”) should be obtained, which provides coverage against claims reported after the liability policy expires.

Medical Records: The storage or transfer of paper and electronic medical records in compliance with Federal and State law including, but not limited to, HIPAA must be completed.  An address or PO Box to receive, and procedure to respond to, medical records requests after the closure of the medical practice must be established and followed.

Service and Supply Providers: Notice concerning the closure of the practice to providers including, but not limited to, providers of ancillary services, medical supplies, and other services and supplies should be coordinated and given.  Accounts with such providers should be closed.

Business Entity Issues: Termination of any Lease Agreement(s), termination of utilities services, collection of accounts receivables, sale of medical and office equipment, dissolving the medical practice legal entity with the Ohio Secretary of State, and filing of final Federal, State, and local tax returns must be coordinated and completed.

If you have any questions about this blog or the State Medical Board of Ohio, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Collis Law Group LLC at (614) 486-3909 or email me at Todd@collislaw.com.

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Ohio Physicians…Emeritus registration is an honorable and practical status following your retirement from the practice of medicine in Ohio.

Many physicians struggle with retirement. Many physicians envision practicing medicine until the day they die because they view medicine not only as their job, but as their way of life, identity, and calling.

I am aware of physicians who have lived outside Ohio or have not practiced in Ohio for many years who nevertheless continue to maintain an active Ohio medical license. However, to maintain an active medical license in Ohio, a physician must keep up to date with costly continuing education hours and renewals, and other legal and administrative requirements, the failure of any of which to adhere to could subject the physician to costly and stressful investigation and/or discipline by the State Medical Board of Ohio (“Board”). Additionally, even if a physician voluntarily allows their Ohio medical license to expire or lapse, the Board retains the legal right to institute a disciplinary action against the physician’s Ohio medical license for violation of certain laws or rules.

There is a simple way to avoid these problems. Under Board administrative rule 4731-22, a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Ohio for at least ten years who declares that he or she is retired from active practice may apply to the Board for emeritus registration. For purposes of emeritus registration, “retired” is a status that means an individual has no active license in another state, or agrees in the emeritus application that he or she will not apply for renewal or reinstatement of any license held in another state. The physician may apply for emeritus registration by indicating on his or her biennial registration form or in written correspondence to the Board if he or she is in fact retired from active practice of medicine and surgery. To be eligible for emeritus status, the physician must also not have been the subject of disciplinary action in Ohio resulting in the revocation, suspension, probation, reprimand, or any other limitation of the physician’s license to practice.

Emeritus registration is not a license to engage in the practice of medicine and surgery and emeritus registrants may not engage in, or hold themselves out to others as actively engaged in, the practice of medicine and surgery. However, emeritus registrants may refer to themselves as doctor, if previously licensed to practice medicine and surgery.

Additionally, emeritus registrants are not required to comply with the Board’s continuing education requirements and also are exempt from renewal and renewal fees.

An emeritus registrant may apply to change back to active practice under conditions specified in the Board’s rules.

Emeritus registration is also available for practitioners licensed to practice osteopathic medicine and surgery, podiatric medicine and surgery, massage therapy, or cosmetic therapy in Ohio.

Be proactive. If you are ready to retire from the active practice of medicine and surgery in Ohio, consider applying for emeritus registration. Emeritus registration offers an honorable and practical status for a physician retiring from the active practice of medicine and surgery.

As always, if you have any questions about this post or the State Medical Board of Ohio in general, please feel free to contact me at Beth@collislaw.com or 614-486-3909 or check out our firm website at www.collislaw.com.