Under a new Ohio law, entities that employ physicians (hospitals, physician practices, etc.) must send notices to patients when a physician is terminated or retires. The law, Ohio Revised Code § 4731.228, became effective on March 22, 2013, and mandates that anyone who received services from a physician in the preceding two years must receive notice from the physician’s employer of that physician’s termination. Or, the employer may elect to give the physician a list of the patients treated over the previous two years and require the physician to send the notice. The notice to patients is required when the physician is terminated for any reason, regardless of fault or cause.
The notice must provide the following information to the patient: (1) the physician will no longer be practicing with the employer; (2) the physician’s new contact information; (3) when the physician will be leaving the employer; (4) contact information for alternative physicians; and (5) contact information enabling the patient to obtain information regarding his or her medical records.
The statute does, however, contain many exceptions. Notice is not required if the services were rendered on an “episodic basis,” such as in an emergency room or urgent care center. The law also does not apply to residents, interns, and fellows who work in hospitals as part of their medical training.
A physician employer should review its physician employment agreements and determine on whom, if anyone, this notice burden currently falls. If an employment agreement does not address patient notices, employers should revise the agreement to account for the new law and clearly establish who will control the patient notification process.Back to news