Lancaster Physician Spring 2020 - 22

L A N C A S T E R M E D I C A L S O C I E T Y.O R G

Healthy Communities

2. Medical Professional Liability Insurance
Although no longer practicing, retired
physicians still need professional liability
protection because claims can be made long
after care has been provided. Physicians
considering retirement should consult with
their medical professional liability insurance
provider to ensure that they are protected
in their retirement years. Some medical
professional insurance policies have an
automatic extended reporting endorsement
(i.e. tail coverage)-a policy obtained by
physicians in active practice that, when
continuously covered by the claims-made
policy, will provide automatic tail coverage
upon full retirement.  

patient's eighteenth birthday, whichever
is longer. The State Board of Osteopathic
Medicine requires DOs to retain a minor
patient's medical records for at least seven
years after the last date of service or two years
after the patient's eighteenth birthday, again
whichever is longer.

If a physician's existing policy does not
already include tail coverage, their liability
insurance carrier is required to offer, for
a period of 60 days, tail coverage upon
cancellation, termination, or non-renewal
of claims-made coverage. Physicians must
purchase tail coverage to comply with state
law, but they are not required to purchase
it from their current malpractice provider;
physicians can shop around for alternative
carriers. Mcare instructs that tail coverage
should be received within 120 calendar days
of the cancellation, termination, or non-renewal of claims-made coverage.

Disposition of Records if a
Physician Retires
Written notice of a physician's impending
retirement should be provided to all of the
retiring physician's patients. This notice
should include the date of the physician's
retirement and information on how patients
can obtain copies of their medical records
or authorize transfer of their records to a
new physician.

3. Medical Record Disposition
Retention Requirements &
Record Ownership
Medical records must be retained in compliance with Pennsylvania law regardless
of whether the physician, who created the
records, retires, passes away, or closes their
practice. In Pennsylvania, physicians must
retain an adult patient's medical records
for at least seven years from the last date
of service. Requirements differ slightly for
minor patients. The State Board of Medicine
requires MDs to retain a minor patient's
medical records for at least seven years after
the last date of service or one year after the

The physician or practice that maintains
the medical records is generally considered
the owner(s) of the records. However, in a
hospital setting, a patient's medical records
are owned by the hospital. Nevertheless,
although patients do not own their medical
records per se, patients do have a right to
view and copy their records at their request.

If the retiring physician was part of a group
practice, the group may retain the physician's
records. However, the practice must provide
patients with copies of their records or have
records transferred to a patient's newly chosen
physician upon a patient's request for such.
If the retiring physician was a solo practitioner, the physician may choose to safely
store the records themselves. However, if
the physician has sold his or her practice
or patient records will be stored by another
practice, hospital, or other custodian, this
information should also be provided to
patients. Patients must be informed about
the location of and how they can access
their records.

If you are not ready to
retire but unsure
if you can maintain
your full schedule
of responsibilities,
consider a Late-Career
Assessment
Research indicates that there
can be an inverse relationship
between the number of years that
a physician has been in practice
and the quality of care that the
physician provides. The Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical
Society provides assessments
through their LifeGuard Program;
one of these is the Late-Career
Assessment measuring clinical
skills and providing a mental and
physical health evaluation. Core
assessment components include
an independent, objective measurement of cognitive and physical
functioning as well as fine motor
skills. Individuals are welcome to
self-refer for this service. LifeGuard's contact information is
717-909-2590 by phone or email at
info@LifeGuardProgram.com.

HOW CAN PAMED HELP?

If you're considering retirement and need guidance in making the transition and preparing your practice for the change,
contact PAMED at 855-726-3348 (855-PAMED4U) or at knowledgecenter@pamedsoc.org.

LANCASTER

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Lancaster Physician Spring 2020

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