Should My Patient Records Stay with the Practice When I Relocate?

posted by Dan Zimmerman in Risk Management on December 20, 2016

At NCMIC, we talk to many doctors when they call our Claims Advice Hotline about a troubling situation or when they need advice about a potential malpractice claim or board complaint. We talk them through the many clinical, relationship and legal issues involved, as well as guide them toward taking the best approach for their individual situations.

Here is an example of a common question and how our claims experts might respond:

Q: I am planning on moving to another state and I anticipate that my patients will remain with my current chiropractic professional group. While I'm an independent contractor, the patients are mine but are billed under the chiropractic group. Should I bring my patient records with me or leave them with the practice?

A: In this situation, the records should remain with the practice. If you're sued or need the records for another purpose, such as a tax audit, you would be able to obtain the records in discovery.

In addition, it's a good idea to draft a letter to all your patients to advise them that you are relocating to another state. In the letter, you should include a statement explaining to your patients that they should return to the clinic for care or go to the emergency room, if needed, or they should request that their records be sent to another practitioner.

You should also explain that a patient who wants to transfer care to a different Doctor of Chiropractic should complete a HIPAA-compliant authorization form for the release of the records. 

About The Author
Dan Zimmerman

Dan Zimmerman, RPLU, CIC
Senior Professional Relations Representative - NCMIC Insurance Company

Dan Zimmerman joined NCMIC in 2010 following 12 years in the property/casualty insurance field. That experience provided opportunities for him to excel in customer service skills as both an adjuster and a marketing representative. As a member of the corporate relations team, Dan travels the country extensively representing NCMIC at various college industry events. He also participates in Starting into Practice workshops and risk management seminars that are presented at the colleges. And back in the day, Dan earned All-American honors as a sprinter on 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams. Obviously, that qualifies him as a team player.

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