Closing a Medical Practice – General Consultation (Consultation closed)

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    The College’s Practice Management Considerations for Physicians Who Cease to Practise, Take an Extended Leave of Absence or Close Their Practice Due to Relocation policy is currently being reviewed. The policy sets out expectations for physicians with respect to the practice management measures they should take before they stop practising or in situations where they will not be practising for an extended period of time due to retirement, relocation, leave of absence, or as a result of disciplinary action by the College. An updated and newly titled Closing a Medical Practice draft of the policy has been developed and is being circulated for external consultation.

    View the draft policy.

    We are inviting feedback from all stakeholders, including members of the medical profession, the public, health system organizations and other health professionals on the draft policy. Comments received during this consultation will assist in developing a final policy which will be considered for final approval by Council.

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    We want to hear your thoughts on the current policy…

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    Background

    The College’s current Practice Management Considerations for Physicians Who Cease to Practise, Take an Extended Leave of Absence or Close Their Practice Due to Relocationpolicy sets out expectations for physicians with respect to the practice management measures they should take before they stop practising or in situations where they will not be practising for an extended period of time due to retirement, relocation, leave of absence, or as a result of disciplinary action by the College. The policy sets out physicians’ obligations to facilitate patient access to care. This includes an obligation to notify patients and others of their leave or closure and ensuring patients know where to access their medical records, lab tests and results. It also provides guidance for ensuring that patients continue to have access to prescription medication and encourages physicians to try and arrange to have another physician assume care for their patients.

    Key Features of The Draft

    Overall, the draft policy retains the key content and central principles of the current policy. However, changes have been made to enhance clarity, comprehension, and flow, as well as to address issues not currently addressed by the policy. These changes were made in response to research (including a jurisdictional review), feedback obtained through the preliminary consultation, and trends observed in the context of the College’s regulatory work. The key revisions included in the draft policy are set out below (this list is not exhaustive):

        • The scope of the draft policy has been narrowed to physicians who are permanently closing a medical practice. Temporary absences from practice will be addressed in the Continuity of Care suite of policies, currently under development.
        • The title of the policy has been significantly shortened and revised to clearly indicate the new scope of the draft policy.
        • In response to both research and feedback, the draft requires that physicians provide ninety days’ notice to patients prior to a planned practice closure.
        • The draft policy clarifies expectations on providing patients with notice of a practice closure. The draft policy clearly sets out the information that must be included in this notice and the mandatory and permissive methods of providing notification.
        • The policy’s application to a sudden practice closure due to illness or death as well as the expectations related to relocation of a medical practice have been clarified.

    Have Your Say

    We would like to hear your thoughts on the draft policy. In particular, we are interested to know:

        • Does the draft policy provide useful guidance?
        • Are there issues not addressed in the current policy that should be addressed? If so, what are they?
        • Are there other ways in which the draft policy could be improved?

    Please provide your feedback by May 7th, 2018.

    Next Steps

    The College is committed to ensuring that the Closing a Medical Practice draft policy reflects current practice issues, embodies the values and duties of medical professionalism, and is consistent with the College’s mandate to protect the public. The feedback obtained during this consultation will be carefully reviewed and used to evaluate the draft. While it may not be possible to ensure that every comment or suggested edit will be incorporated into the final policy, all comments will be carefully considered. Final decisions regarding policy revisions are made by College Council. Once a final draft policy has been approved, a copy will be posted on this page as well as the College website. To ensure transparency, the College will post all consultation feedback in accordance with our posting guidelines. We value your feedback and thank you again for participating in our policy review process.

     

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    View feedback

    View the online survey report.

    View the feedback received to date

    Send us your feedback by mail:

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario 80 College Street Toronto, Ontario M5G2E2 Attention: Policy Department