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Notifying Patients of Physician Leaving Practice

By 1 April 2024April 26th, 2024No Comments
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How to Write and Send Effective Letters for Notifying Patients of Physician Leaving Practice?

Are you looking to depart from your current practice? Then, we can help you send a notification letter to patients from doctors leaving practice effortlessly!

The healthcare industry is highly regulated by several data privacy laws like HIPAA, PIPEDA, etc. Hence, physicians face a lot of pressure while starting work at another practice or closing their practice and relocating.

notifying patients of physicians leaving practice letter

70% of physicians switch jobs within their first two years. They all need to fulfill several requirements, like serving the notice period and sending a sample letter notifying patients‘ physicians leaving practice.

There are varying requirements for physicians practicing in different states or counties. Hence, it is advisable to visit a local healthcare attorney and address your doubts.

Physicians must take care to help their patients get through the transition smoothly. They should also finish all their duties and meet the obligations towards their practice.

Sounds complicated, right?

This guide will help you understand your most crucial responsibilities while departing or retiring. Also, it will walk you through the steps to write an effective letter to patients when leaving practice.

Things That Departing Physicians Should Do to Avoid Legal Trouble

Yes, sending a doctor leaving practice announcement is legally necessary. But, there are several more things that a closing or departing physician should take care of, like:

Reviewing Your Signed Documents and Practice’s Policies

Before leaving your current practice, you should review all the documents you signed while joining. Ensure that you know all the provisions of your employment contract, deferred compensation agreement, shareholders’ agreement, and operating agreement (if your firm is an LLP).

You must also check your employment tenure and departure policies as a physician leaving practice. Again, it would help if you understood your obligations and fulfilled them before your departure date.

Quick read: PostGrid for Healthcare Industry

Understanding Notice Provisions

Mostly, your employment contract may need you to serve a notice period before you become eligible to leave the practice. Hence, understand these provisions in-depth before writing a sample letter to inform patients of your resignation.

If you fail to file your resignation in advance, your practice may claim a contract breach with heavy penalties. Also, the institution may ask you to pay for employing a locum tenens (temporary) doctor to complete your duties.

Furthermore, several deferred compensation agreements depend on the length of the notice period you serve. Some of these arrangements need an extremely long notice time (like one year) before the doctor can qualify for such payments. Thus, it is essential to address your notice provisions before sending out a physician resignation letter to patients.

Planning Your Retirement Benefits

If you are a physician leaving the practice to join another institution, you need not worry about your retirement from now. But, if you are retiring, you should plan everything accordingly and ensure that you avail all your retirement benefits.

Ensure that your date of leaving does not rob you of these benefits in any way, such as retiring a few days earlier and losing one year’s worth of advantages. In addition, several retirement plans need the doctor to work for a whole year to qualify for retirement. So, if your retirement date is in six months, it may not be the best time for you to start work at another practice.

Try reading all the rules related to notifying patients of physicians leaving practice in Texas and your retirement policies to avoid any issues further.

Considering Your Patients’ Needs

Undoubtedly, it is morally incorrect to abandon your patients and leave them in a high-and-dry situation. Moreover, the AMA guidelines for physician leaving practice also consider it illegal.

Patient abandonment is a serious problem if a physician terminates all patient relationships without prior notice when there is a need for ongoing medical attention. Any physician found abandoning their patients is charged with medical malpractice and can face severe consequences.

Therefore, considering your patient's requirements before taking any steps should be on the top of your physician leaving practice checklist.

Learning Who Owns the Patients’ Medical Records

Being the custodian of patients’ medical data is a highly responsible task. Hence, refrain from leaving your patient records with a colleague or having an informal agreement with your practice.

A physician leaving practice should clarify who owns the medical records post their departure. The employment contract should also mention such details to avoid potential problems between the physician and the institution.

Often, the ownership lies with the practice, not the physician. It would be best to mention the same in the doctor's leaving practice letter to the patient. Some states also allow patients to transfer their medical records to their physician’s new place of practice.

Also Read: Physician Mailing List

Covering Your Tail

Almost all departing doctors want their practices to pay for tail coverage or an extended reporting period (ERP). It’s a feature wherein you can file claims even after your policy expires or terminates.

The physician leaving practice who terminates employment without cause needs to pay for the ERP. But, in some cases, the institution pays it, like when it asks a physician to resign without cause.

It is a bit complicated to determine who will pay for it, so try consulting an attorney and thoroughly reviewing your employment documents.

Not Breaching Non-competition Clauses

A non-competition policy or clause prohibits the physician leaving practice from joining another institution located within a specific geographic area for a specified time, say two years. For example, this clause may prohibit you from practicing for up to 50 miles from your last institution in rural areas and five miles in urban localities.

Thus, understand these clauses properly before resigning and sending a sample letter to patients regarding discharging or from doctor changing practice.

Completing Your After-Retirement Obligations 

You may assume that your obligations end with your retirement, but this is seldom the case. But, you still need to respond to the board's complaints, subpoenas, etc. Hence, try keeping up with these things after notifying patients of physicians leaving practice in Tennessee.

Consider signing an agreement with a medical records custodian who can respond to all the subpoenas. Also, take care to change your medical license status as inactive or retired.

Another thing to be careful about is not prescribing drugs to your family members and friends after retirement. It can lead to charges of non-therapeutic prescribing and more.

Also Read: Letter to Patients to Notify About Test Results

Notifying Patients of Physician Leaving Practice

In all the steps we discussed above, you may have noticed that informing your patients about your departure is crucial. It is not just a piece of advice but also a legal requirement by several state and federal laws. 

Most states require the physician leaving the practice to notify all the patients before their departure date, ideally 30 days. If you are unaware of such requirements, talk to your attorney and arrange to draft a notification letter to patients and third parties accordingly. 

Every state has different requirements for departing physicians to complete. Let us take the example of the TMB (Texas Medical Board) rules for physicians leaving practice

The board needs departing practitioners to inform it about retiring, terminating practice, relocating, etc., specifying other related details. 

You may also ask how should a physician notify patients about retiring from practice or tell patients about relocating. Luckily, TMB also addresses this question and advises physicians to publish notifications in the following ways:

  • Post notification in newspapers with the greatest general circulation in all the states you practice and in a local newspaper circulated in the practice area. 
  • Publish a written notice in your office where visiting patients can read it. 
  • Send a notification personally to all the patients you saw in the past two years. 

Apart from TMB, the California Medical Board also requires a physician leaving the practice to inform patients about their departure in advance. Other obligations may include:

  • Including a relevant address in the notification so that patients can contact the physician even after they leave
  • Giving patients enough time to transfer their records if they wish
  • Mentioning your departure date

Now, another question that pops up is how you tell a patient you are leaving. The most popular way to notify patients personally is to send them direct mail letters. It is the most personal, safe, and legally compliant way of notifying patients of physicians leaving practice in Florida

If you need any help, use PostGrid’s direct mail services which can assist you in drafting, printing, and mailing your letters to your patients. 

Also Read: Best Direct Mail Marketing Companies

Tips to Use While Writing a Letter to Patients When Leaving Practice

It is crucial to write a letter that serves the purpose while also making an ever-lasting impact on your patients. Your letter must reflect that you are leaving the practice on good terms and you are thankful for the years you had there.

Often, physicians have a hard time drafting a good sample letter to inform patients of their departure. Thus, we have compiled a few points below to make your job a little easier:

Be Personal and Upfront

Your long-term and loyal patients deserve to know why you want to leave the practice. They would also appreciate your honesty and openness about the whole situation. Thus, try adding a personal touch to the doctor by leaving a practice letter to the patient.

Add some details about your new job or venture. It is always good if your patients know where to locate you after leaving your current practice. This way, they can contact you if they want to continue getting treated by you.

Also, don’t forget to thank your patients in your closing medical practice letter. It will make them feel special and help you keep up with your physician-patient relationship.

Keep Up With HIPAA 

Following the data privacy laws and regulations may not be at the top of your mind while writing a letter to patients from doctors leaving practice. But, it is very crucial as you don’t want to violate the HIPAA laws while leaving. Of course, you can always share your personal experiences in the letter, but prevent sharing details about your patients’ healthcare to avoid data breaches.

Read more: How to Create HIPAA-compliant Direct Mail Campaigns? 

Any information hinting at a patient’s medical data can render the physician's resignation letter to the patient illegal. It can lead to heavy penalties and other issues. You can visit a healthcare attorney in your area and run your letter by them once to avoid these things.

Recommend Other Doctors That Can Fill In Your Shoes

Patients may feel uneasy because they need to find a new physician after you leave. But, you can help them out by recommending other doctors that they can switch to and get the medical attention they need. Preferably, add the names and qualifications of your recommended physicians practicing at the healthcare institution. It will add value to your letter to patients when leaving practice and solve their worries.

Assure Your Patients That Their Healthcare Won’t be Affected

Another thing that can trouble your patients is that there will be a significant transition in their healthcare. However, as their physician, you must assure them that they can continue getting the best treatment from the same practice as usual.

Add some soothing sentences to your sample letter notifying patients physicians leaving practice, like:

  • Your healthcare is in good hands.
  • My colleagues at ABC Hospital will continue offering you world-class healthcare services.
  • Your treatment is not going to be affected in any way.

Your job here is to create trust and confidence among patients in the doctor-moving letter to patients for your institution. They should feel assured that the institution would continue their treatment without hassles.

Also Read: Healthcare Marketing Strategies to Attract Today’s Healthcare Consumer

Add Your Institution's Contact Information

Don’t forget to add all the contact information of your healthcare center in the letter notifying patients of physicians leaving practice in California. Include the email address, reception phone number, recommended doctors’ phone numbers (if possible), and complete address.

By doing so, you can help patients contact the center effortlessly to book appointments, collect their reports, and other reasons. A letter to patients from a doctor leaving a practice sample is useless if you don’t tell your patients whom to contact after the departure.

Use a Proper Letter Format

Even as you write a physician leaving practice letter, make sure to use legible fonts and a proper format. Refrain from using more than one page and complicated terms that are hard for your patients to understand.

Divide your notice to patients on the departure of a physician in short paragraphs so that it is easily skimmable. It is best to write your letter on your letterhead and add an authentic signature to all the copies.

Another thing you can do is personalize all the letters with your patients’ names. It will increase the genuineness of your words and give your patients the personal closure they deserve.

Also Read: Bulk Or Mass Mail Services

A Template You Can Use for Notifying Patients of Physicians Leaving Practice

Though there is no specific script for physicians leaving practice letters, the following template can help you draft a good one:

Cecelia Hoover, M.D. [Your name]
PGT Group of Hospitals [Your Practice’s Name]
587 Argonne ST [Delivery address] 
Houston, TX 77019 [City, state abbreviation, and ZIP code]
Date: 4th March 2024 

To, 

George Hagan [Your patient’s full name]
20 NW Westheimer RD [Their delivery address]
Houston, TX 77098 [City, state abbreviation, and ZIP code]

Dear Mr. George, [A formal salutation]

[Explain the purpose of this HIPAA physician leaving practice letter and your departure date. Write the reason for leaving the practice and mention your plans in brief. If you are an institution writing a letter announcing the departure of a physician, remember to wish them luck and display gratitude.]

[Discuss how the patient can continue receiving treatment at the institution the same way as always.]

[In the next paragraph of this provider leaving practice letter, tell your patients how they can transfer their medical records.]

[Add your contact details so that patients can connect with you in case of any follow-ups and queries.]

[Signing off]

[Signature]

Sample Letter to Patients From Doctor Changing Practice

Below is a sample letter that you can refer to while informing patients of a physician leaving practice:

American Heart Institute
9 West Dodge RD
Omaha NE 68007
Date: 4th March 2024.

Ms. Jessica Eyre
18 Cornhusker RD
Omaha NE 68119

Dear Ms. Jessica,

We hope you are doing well! This letter is to inform you of an AMI doctor leaving practice. Charles White, M.D., has decided to move on with his career and leave our hospital in May 2024. This decision comes after he decided to move back to his hometown Oklahoma and restart his career.

It has not been easy for us to let go of such a brilliant, hard-working, and loving doctor, but we wish him all the best for his future endeavors.

With the medical office closure of Dr. Charles, we want to assure you that your treatment will be done as usual by the other top doctors in our institute. You can still book your appointments at (402) 68952 2770 and get the medical care you need.

You can also contact this number in case of any questions about the transition or drop us an email.

Meanwhile, you can have your patient medical records transferred if you wish to continue your treatment with Dr. Charles. Please note that AMI will store all the original copies of your data.

Sincerely,

Josh Williams, Medical Director – AMI.

Below, we have written another sample physician departure letter to patients. This letter is more personal as the departing physician pen it down themself.

4th March 2024.

To,

Kevin Olson
7 Acken LN
Princeton, NJ 08544

Dear Mr. Kevin,

This letter is regarding my departure from the Princeton Medical Care Center on 10th April 2024. I am starting a new role at the Welfare Hospital in Jersey City to explore new opportunities in ophthalmology.

Two years ago, I was privileged to join Princeton Medical Care Center as a junior physician. Over this time, I met the most amazing patients who made me a part of their life journeys. I would sincerely like to thank each of you in this physician retirement notification letter who always supported and trusted me.

Please know that your medical care is in great hands here as Dr. June Havens, M.D.Ph.D., will be joining us this month. She has experience of over five years in this field and has treated thousands of patients successfully. Also, you can continue your treatment with doctors Jade Ambler and Aria James, who are specialized experts in ophthalmology.

I know that a physician leaving practice may throw you off, so you can reach out to me at (609) 254-4181 while I am still here. This way, we can discuss how you could move ahead with your healthcare. Also, you may call up the reception number mentioned on the letterhead to book an appointment with any of the doctors I have recommended.

Please note that your medical data will remain with the institute as I move on. You can access your records and obtain copies by emailing at [email protected].

Again, I would like to thank and appreciate you for everything. Though I am saying goodbye with a heavy heart, I am confident that Princeton Medical Care Center will continue offering you outstanding care and treatment.

Kind Regards,

Nate Roerig, M.D.

How Can PostGrid Help You Draft Effective Letter to Patients When Leaving Practice

It can be overwhelming for doctors closing practices to notify every patient about their departure. Also, some of the hospital records may be outdated and have the old mailing addresses of patients.

Thus, healthcare providers can use PostGrid’s direct mail API to overcome such issues and send out letters hassle-free. Our services include:

Pre-built Letter Templates

PostGrid offers several professionally built letter templates to help you draft your notifications in no time. You can also easily add your letterhead, logo, and other customizations to your closing medical practice letter to patients.

Address Verification

As said above, the patient records stored by your practice may be outdated and consist of invalid mailing addresses. Mailing to such addresses can lead to data breaches, lost mail, returns, delays, etc. Hence, PostGrid also offers address standardization and verification services to help you cleanse your database and prevent such problems.

Address verification helps you send a letter to patients from doctors moving practice to the right people at the right time.

Print and Mail Fulfillment

Our services help you throughout the process of creating, printing, and mailing letters. You can help your staff save a tremendous amount of time and effort finding a printing vendor and posting the mail themselves.

PostGrid’s direct mail marketing services help you automate everything with just a few clicks. For example, you can integrate our print and mail API into your CRM and start sending closing medical practice letters to patients right from your system.

Apart from such departure letters, PostGrid also helps physicians and healthcare institutions print and mail:

  • Explanation of Benefits (EOB)
  • Patient notices
  • Appointment reminders
  • Billing statements
  • Medical reports
  • Medical statement inserts, etc.

Tracking and Reporting

You can track every doctor leaving practice letters to patients through your dashboard. With our per-piece tracking capabilities, you need not guess if your letter reached the patient or not anymore.

Also, PostGrid allows you to access periodic reports and analytics to help you keep tabs on your entire workflow.

Want to learn how PostGrid can help you draft, print, and send a physician resignation letter to patients affordably and efficiently? Click here to sign up!

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