By Thu Pham, O.D., Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm
Relocating your practice can be stressful. There are many things that you need to do such as physically moving all of your equipment, moving your utility services, notifying your insurance companies, notifying the Department of Health (DOH), notifying Medicare and Medicaid and, most important, notifying your patients. Optometrists sometimes forget that they should also notify their patients of the move.
Rule 64B13-3.002(2), Florida Administrative Code, requires that an optometrist give notice to patients when he or she relocates or withdraws services so that the patient may make arrangements for follow-up eye care and knows where to obtain a copy of the prior treatment record. The notice should identify the optometrist's new location or the location for which the patient may obtain his/her records. The notice must be in compliance with Rule 64B13-3.003(7), Florida Administrative Code. This section requires that the notice be published in the newspaper of greatest general circulation in each county for which the optometrist practiced indicating that the records are available from a specified eye care at a certain location. So for example, if you live in the Orlando area, you would want to publish the notice in the Orlando Sentinel. Make sure that you obtain and keep a copy of your notice from the newspaper just in case the board audits you or someone files a complaint.
Click here for a link to obtain a complete copy of Optometry statutes and regulations.
Moving can be a stressful time. It is important for an optometrist to remember to notify his patients of the move in the manner required by the Board of Optometry. Failure to do so could result in a complaint being filed and an investigation initiated against you.
When First Notified of a Pending Investigation Seek the Advice of an Experienced Health Law Attorney.
When you receive any notice, by telephone, by mail, by hand delivery or by information passed along by your employer that an investigation has been opened against your professional license, immediately contact an attorney experienced in such matters. Do not talk to the investigator. Do not talk to the prosecuting attorney. Do not call the state agency and ask for advice on what you should do. Do not send a written statement explaining your side of the story.
You have important constitutional rights that protect you. But you have to exercise the common sense required to use these rights. Part of this is by obtaining competent legal counsel who can advise you and protect your rights. Again, we remind you that unless an attorney routinely handles this type of case, he or she may be unfamiliar with what your rights are in such a situation or how to handle it.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
How did you handle a previous move? Did you find the time to be stressful for you, your staff and your patients? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
About the Author: Dr. Thu Pham, OD, is a law clerk with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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