In Part 1 of our post exploring transitional issues in selling and buying a practice, we examined the role that credentialing, staff licensing issues, and medical records custody each play in ensuring a smooth and efficient sale of a practice. In Part 2 of our series we examine certain post-closing matters that are critical for all buyers and sellers, and which should be negotiated and spelled out in the Purchase Agreement.
Medical professionals often question the extent to which their personal assets may be subjected to a malpractice claim. While the answer to this question varies significantly upon case specific circumstances, New Hampshire is one of several states that affords medical professionals (both New Hampshire residents and non-New Hampshire residents) methods for protecting assets from future creditors, including future malpractice claims.
Growing a practice requires years of relationship building and providing quality care. Selling a practice is the culmination of those efforts and can often provide financial security upon retirement. Purchasing a practice is a major investment of time and money for buyers and often results in buyers becoming business owners for the first time in their professional careers. While selling a practice relieves the seller from the day-to-day operation of running a business, and purchasing a practice empowers providers to control their own professional careers, buyers and sellers should be mindful of a number of issues relating to the transition the practice between the parties—issues that can give rise to legal liability and unforeseen expense if not addressed prior to the sale.
As the costs of running a medical practice continue to rise, providers are exploring ways to reduce overhead and add revenue. While some practices are simply tightening their belts, others are turning to passing the costs of running a practice through to patients by charging an “administrative fee.”
The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigated a record-number of alleged HIPAA violations in 2016. A recent settlement between OCR and a health system in the State of Texas reflects that OCR investigations and enforcement actions will continue at high-volume through 2017, and serves as an example of the liabilities associated with unintended (yet impermissible) disclosures prohibited under HIPAA.