Closing for COVID-19? Don’t worry about abandonment, but give notice

Health Care Counsel Susanna Hathaway Murphy was recently quoted in Part B News on the recent COVID-related development of health care providers seeing patients strictly via telehealth as the pandemic rages on. The article addresses whether health care providers need to worry about patient abandonment issues when the COVID-19 emergency orders lift.

In California, the state medical board “recommends the physician notify patients in writing of three things,” said Susanna Hathaway Murphy. First, you should share the last day the physician will be able to provide care. Second, offer other potential sources of medical care. “If the physician can refer to another physician by name, that would be best,” said Ms. Murphy. She added “[o]therwise, provide the name of a reputable referral service.” Third, you should alert patients how to get copies of medical records, if needed after the closure.

Physicians who are temporarily closing their offices “should continue to provide emergency care and prescriptions for a reasonable amount of time before becoming completely unavailable,” Murphy advises. The California board recommends at least 15 days.

To read the article click here

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