Closing or Selling Your Medical Practice or Retiring

Are you thinking about retiring or closing or selling your practice?

There are rules and requirements for notifying patients and the Texas Medical Board (TMB). Other agencies and entities also will need to be advised. And if you will be retiring, you have TMB licensure and HCMS/TMA membership options to consider.

Guidance and Resources

How to notify employees of closing or selling a practice - The Texas Medical Association (TMA) provides advice how and when that will benefit both your employees and your practice.

Checklist for Retirement or Sale of Practice - TMA checklist on notifying the Texas Medical Board (TMB), DEA, Medicare, Medicaid, and more.

Also, the Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) recommends notifying your liability insurance provider's underwriting department of your change in status, all contracted entities, and hospitals where you have privileges.

For additional guidance, see Terminating the patient-physician relationship - navigating appropriate notice, difficult patients, closing a practice, and more in TMLT's The Reporter, Quarter 4 2017, beginning on page 11.

Closing or Selling Your Medical Practice (TMA Publication) - If you're selling your practice, how will the anti-kickback law affect the sale? If you're closing your practice, how should you notify your patients and handle their medical records? This publication covers: sale of a practice; notifications; medical record retention guidelines; dealing with subpoenas; retirement; and more.

Strategies for Exiting Your Medical Practice for Retirement (TMA webinar) - Preparing your practice to continue after your departure involves a great many details, some complicated and demanding time and close attention. Strategic planning and thoughtful consideration, however, can get you on the right path to a career change or retirement.

Sample Letters for Notifying Patients

TMA has a sample 'discontinuing practice' letter and a clause for transfer-custody of records in practice change sample forms.

TMLT also has some sample closing/retiring letters.

In the letter, be sure to include information on how patients may request and obtain a copy of their medical records even after the practice has closed.

Medical Records - Management/Storage Resources and Info

Records Management, Storage and Retrieval Resources in the Houston area. (This list is provided for reference only; not an endorsement of any of these companies.)

Also, see our Buyers Guide under Custodian of Records, Document Management Solutions, and Document Scanning and Imaging. 

For information and rules governing medical records, including retention requirements, refer to our Medical Records page.

Selling Your Practice?

If so, HCMS can help you reach thousands of potential physician buyers in the Houston area. For information on placing an advertisement in the Physician Newsletter, see our Marketing for Physicians page.

Leaving a Group Practice?

For information and responsibilities when a physician departs from a group practice, see our Leaving a Group Practice page.

Membership Options for Retired Physicians

If you will be retiring from practice, you may wish to talk with the HCMS Membership Department at 713-524-4267 to discuss options for continuing your HCMS/TMA membership.

If Something Happened to You...

Have a contingency plan in place. Preparing for the worst: Planning for untimely death is vital (TMA)
What would happen if you suffered an extended illness? Three steps that could save your practice's life (TMA)
What if you have a serious accident or illness and are unable to work? Who will run your practice if you can't? (TMA)

Physicians Practice Articles

Selling your medical practice: 4 steps to take first

Nine questions to ask before selling your practice to a hospital

American Medical Association (AMA) Resources

AMA Code of Medical Ethics - Privacy, Confidentiality and Medical Records, Opinion 3.3.1 Management of Medical Records

AMA article - Tax basics for retirement that physicians often overlook.

 

Texas Medical Board (TMB) Rules, Notifications, and Licensure Options

For TMB medical record retention requirements and exceptions, please refer to our Medical Records page.

TMB Rules: 165.1(b)(6) Maintenance of Medical Records - Physicians may transfer ownership of records to another licensed physician or group of physicians only if the physician provides notice consistent with 165.5 of this chapter and the physician who assumes ownership of the records maintains the records consistent with this chapter. Section (b) also discusses records retention requirements.

TMB Rules: 165.5 Transfer and Disposal of Medical Records - Below is a brief review of the rules involving notification.

Required Notification of Discontinuance of Practice
When a physician retires, terminates employment, or otherwise leaves a medical practice, he or she is responsible for:
  • Ensuring that patients receive reasonable notification;
  • Ensuring that patients are given an opportunity to obtain copies of their records or arrange for the transfer of their medical records to another physician;
  • Notifying the Texas Medical Board when he/she is terminating practice, retiring or relocating, and will no longer be available to patients;
  • Specifying who has custodianship of the records; and
  • Advising how copies of the medical records may be obtained.
Method of Notification
(2) Notification shall be accomplished by:

      (A) EITHER:
             (I)  Posting such notice on the physician's or practice website; OR
             (ii) Publishing a notice in the newspaper of greatest general circulation in each county in which the physician practices or practiced and in a local newspaper that serves the immediate practice area; AND
      (B) Placing written notice in the physician's office; AND
      (C) Notifying patients seen in the last two years of the physician's discontinuance of practice BY EITHER:
            (i)  Sending a letter to each patient; OR
            (ii) Sending an email to each patient, in a manner that is compliant with state and federal law.
(3) A copy of the posted notices shall be submitted to the TMB within 30 days from the date of termination, sale, or relocation of practice.
(4) Notices placed in the physician's office shall be placed in a conspicuous location in or on the facade of the physician's office as a sign announcing the termination, sale or relocation of the practice. The sign shall be placed at least 30 days prior to the termination, sale or relocation of the practice and shall remain until the date of termination, sale or relocation.

Note: As HCMS frequently receives calls from former patients who are looking for their medical records, please also notify our office so we may advise these patients who/where to contact to request a copy of their medical records. Call 713-524-4267, ext. 219, or send a letter to: Harris County Medical Society, John P. McGovern Building, 1515 Hermann Dr, Houston, TX 77004-7126.

Licensure - Retirement Options
The TMB provides licensure retirement options. A physician may request one of these "retired status" options or may decide to retain a full medical license. "Retired status" exempts physicians from the registration process, registration fee, and CME requirements.

Voluntary Surrender or Revocation of Physician's License
A physician who voluntarily surrendered his/her medical license or has had his/her license revoked by the TMB must:
  • Notify his/her patients, by following the rules of method of notification, within 30 days of the effective date of the voluntary surrender or revocation; and
  • Obtain a custodian of his/her records to be approved by the Texas Medical Board within 30 days of the effective date of the voluntary surrender of revocation.