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Legal FAQs
Retirement/Closing a practice
What notice do I need to give patients when I am closing my practice?

The Discontinuance of Practice Rule requires that you notify all active patients (seen within the last two years) in writing or provide them with notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the community once a week for three consecutive weeks that you are retiring, discontinuing your practice, or leaving or moving from a community. 844 IAC 5-2-16. As a practical matter, patients rarely see the newspaper notice and any patient who you have treated (not just patients from the last two years) has a right to request his or her medical record. So, the better job you do of notifying the patients in advance and providing them detailed information about how they can obtain copies of their medical record, the more smoothly the process will go and the less likely patients will be to file complaints. The ISMA Legal Department has prepared a packet of information on closing a practice which physician members may call and request. Non-members may also call and request a packet but will be charged a fee.

What do I do with my medical records when I close my practice?

Indiana law requires that physicians maintain their medical records for at least seven (7) years. IC 16-39-7-1. This rule does not change for retiring physicians. There is no state repository available for storing medical records. Consider the following options: converting the records to electronic format and storing them on hard drive or disk; transferring the records to another physician or a hospital; storing the records at your residence or the residence of a former employee; or holding the records in a document storage facility. Do not forget that patients will still be entitled to copies of those records, so you need to store them somewhere where they will be secure (HIPAA confidentiality), safe (moisture, insects, etc.) and accessible. Ultimately you remain responsible for those records.

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