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Physician Records

Sale of a Medical Practice

The WSMA believes that a physician or the estate of a deceased physician may sell to another physician the elements which comprise his/her practice, such as furniture, fixture, equipment, office leasehold and goodwill. In the sale of a medical practice, the purchaser is buying not only furniture and fixtures, but also good will, i.e., the opportunity to take over the patients of the seller. The WSMA understand the transfer of records of patients to be subject to the following: 1) all active patients should be notified that the physician (or his/her estate) is transferring the practice to another physician who will retain custody of their records and that at their written request, within a reasonable time as specified in the notice, the records or copies will be sent to any other physician of their choice; 2) a reasonable charge may be made for the cost of duplicating records; 3) a physician or his/her estate who is selling his/her practice may not ethically sell his/her patients' records to another physician. (JC 7.04087) (Reaffirmed A-17)

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Abbreviations for House of Delegates report origination:

EC – Executive Committee; BT – Board of Trustees; CPA – Council on Professional Affairs; JC – Judicial Council; CHS – Community and Health Services

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