Monday, December 29, 2008

A doctor's departure.

The departure of a doctor from a medical practice group is not always amicable. In some situations, the medical records of a departing doctor's patients may be held hostage. The Texas Occupations Code and Texas Medical Board Rules (located in the Texas Administrative Code) both contain provisions addressing medical records.

Chapter 159 of the Occupations Code addresses the confidentiality and release of patient records. (159.002(2) & 159.005)

Texas Medical Board Rules Section 165.5 requires that the departing physician post a sign in her office informing the patients of the departure, publish notice in the newspaper, and send letters to all patients. Section 165.5(c) prevents other physicians from preventing the departing doctor from posting a sign or withholding contact information for patients.

A departing doctor should instruct her patients to fill out appropriate releases so the patients' records are transferred to the doctor's new office. The departing doctor should also follow all departure requirements contained in the Texas Medical Board Rules.