Departing PhysicianWhen physicians in your practice leave – whether it is to open their own practice down the street, move out of town, or retire, you typically set up a time to meet together to establish a transition plan. Charts must be up to date and any pending business transactions must be completed. You take all necessary steps to ensure your practice remains successful and patient care is not compromised.
A similar transition exit plan should be in place when a locum tenens physician moves on. This is often overlooked since all parties knew from the beginning the arrangement was only temporary. Even so, for patient care to continue uninterrupted and to assure all services are billed for, you need to set aside some time to meet with the exiting locum tenens physician before the end of his or her term.
Topics in the meeting should include:

  1. Reviewing the status of all patients the locum tenens physician has been caring for. Unfinished issues should be communicated to the doctor who is assuming the workload of the departing physician.
  2. The locum tenens physician should return all materials that belong to the practice. This includes pagers, cell phones, office manuals and any other physical supplies.
  3. All charting needs to be complete and patient medical records need to be current. If there is some reason this is not possible, be sure to flag incomplete records that will need to be updated after the locum tenens physician leaves.
  4. If you will need to send incomplete files to the departing physician for completion, determine specific dates the files will be sent and how long the physician will have to complete them before they must be returned.
  5. Confirm the locum tenens physician’s contact information. This includes a physical address and an email address, telephone number and any other relevant contact information. You may have questions about the patients or need help understanding information that has been entered into their medical records.

Medical practices recognize the importance of onboarding new physicians who are doing locum tenens. Physicians are given a strong orientation to the practice and provided the necessary information and tools so they can be immediately successful. The same attention should be given to offboarding. If you take this time, the care of your patients will continue uninterrupted and your practice will avoid any financial loss during the physician transition.
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Last Updated on April 22, 2014