Whether you’re a relocating physician, a retiring physician or you represent the estate of a just deceased physician, the element of notification to patients is quite important.
Generally speaking, notification can take on the form of a letter, newspaper anouncements and/or phone call, depending on the area and what is possible. In larger cities, most physicians will construct a letter to be sent to the “active” patients (ie. those last seen within the last 2 years – for GPs). The letter should cover the elements of:
- Date of Closure
- How to find a new doctor
- How and where to obtain / transfer a copy of the patient’s medical record
In smaller communities where word tends to get around anyway, a few timely newspaper anouncements may suffice. The anouncement should cover off the same information as would a mailed letter.
In Ontario, the CPSO recommends a minimum of 90 days notification prior to the date of closure. Naturally, in the case of a recently deceased physician, this is not possible, and notification should take place as soon as possible under the circumstances. In their Policy #2-07 , the CPSO details their expectations with respect to notification both in terms of the timing and other details including follow-ups, medications, etc. At RSRS, we tend to additionally recommend to our clients a posting in the office, a revised outgoing message on the answering service, as well as tear-off slips to hand to the patients that come in for a visit during the final months of practice.
RSRS provides template notification letters, newspaper anouncements, office postings and tear-off slips for its physician clients.