Moving a medical office isn’t easy. It requires both the procedures of moving an office and of moving a specialty practice. Whether you’re moving within your city or out of state, there are some things you need to know to make the move successfully.
Use this guide and checklist to coordinate moving your medical office. By knowing what’s required of the move you can find the right professionals to aid you or create a checklist and do it yourself the right way.
Before you call a relocation specialist in your area, first make sure that you have the necessary qualifications to practice medicine in your new intended area. If you don’t, you need to apply for and receive that new license before you make any move. If necessary, speak to an attorney about practicing medicine in your new area, especially if it’s out of state. There are also legal details below that you should consider when closing your practice.
Those checks come before anything else, so start there before reading on.
How location affects your move
Both the location that you’re selling and the one you’re moving to need to be examined for specifics concerning how location can affect the process of moving your medical office. The first you need to do is find a real estate professional who has worked with medical practitioners before. You need to make sure your new location will be safe for patients and follow all the necessary guidelines that regulate medical offices in the state you’re moving to.
Leasing office space, for instance, could be problematic if you use radiation in any treatment. You need to find someone experienced in these guidelines as they pertain to medicine to scout your new location.
Your old location has to be considered as well when choosing an agent. The market for commercial real estate in your area may be volatile. It could affect when you move and how much you’ll make from the sale, which could alter your options in terms of where you’re moving to. Selling and purchasing at around the same time can be tough to coordinate so you need an agent who knows the ins and outs of both sides of the sale to move your medical practice efficiently (and profitably).
That agent can also help you choose a new location, provided they’re experienced in the needs of medical practices. This will also help you choose a relocation company in your area that is experienced with medical furnishings and equipment. A lot of careful packing and planning needs to go into your decision to move your medical practice as safely as possible. Some relocation companies even help you test and recommission your equipment in your new location.
Choosing the right relocation company could affect where you end up, the efficiency of your move, and the condition of your equipment when you get there.
When moving a medical office, the next most important thing after choosing your location carefully and hiring your relocation company is to follow the right process of notification to make the move smoothly.
Before going over the notifications you need to make, you should consider the one notification that you should not make before the right time. You should not notify your new area that you will practice medicine there until your new license has been issued to you and approved by that area. This process can take as long as two months, so you need to leave that space between your decision to move and your actual move time to have that license finalized before you notify the new area that you’ll be moving.
You also may not need to notify your local medical board of your move – typically, they are only notified when physicians retire.
As a physician, it’s your responsibility to know which notifications you do need to give, however, the first and most important is to your patients.
The element of basic kindness that should motivate you to give your patients adequate time to find a new medical professional before you move is not the only motivation you have to distribute these notifications. There are also legal penalties for not giving patients enough time to adjust to your move and replace their physician (it’s called “patient abandonment”).
You could be investigated by the Medical Composite Board if you don’t give your old patients ample time to find a new doctor or refer them yourself to another qualified practitioner. Mail, email, and office notifications are all acceptable methods to prepare your patients for your move and avoid legal ramifications.
This also applies to your current staff, whose exit paperwork you need to get in order. Great employers also help their old employees with referrals and new positions before they leave.
Changing your address is always a hassle, but there are a lot of aspects of the address change that matter especially for a medical office making a move to a new location. There are many people that you need to contact about the address change to make sure that you can offer the same services in your new location and the same quality of living for yourself and your staff.
Medical associations at which you are a member need to be notified of your address change. If you’re moving far enough away, you may need to change your association altogether. Magazine and other subscriptions need to be notified as well so they can send you your material at your new location. This also applies to your letterhead, brochures, prescription pads, and other material you need to be printed.
There are other medical-specific businesses that you need to notify of your move as well. Your medical suppliers and equipment providers and maintainers need to know your new location, or else you need to cancel your business with them and select a new provider in your new area. This also applies to generic business services like maintenance and contractors, bankers, attorneys, and business suppliers.
The labs and hospitals that you use should be notified of your address change as well.
Your move checklist
Use this list to come up with a reasonable timeline to move your medical office. The six months or so that the move will probably take should be planned in advance so it doesn’t take any longer than it has to.
- Choose a commercial mover as well as a relocation specialist experienced with medical practitioners to scout out your new location and prepare your equipment for the move
- Notify your building that you’ll be moving so you can begin turning over your maintenance and utility services, as well as schedule the move
- Change your address with your subscriptions, printing services, medical associations, and other businesses
- Notify your patients as soon as possible so they can find a new medical practitioner. Issue any referrals you feel are necessary. Use multiple modes of notification to make sure you’re not liable for a lawsuit for abandoning your patients. These could include changing your answering machine outgoing, emailing and calling your patients, changing the information on your office door, and making sure your employees have their exit contracts situated as well.
- Prepare to move both your medical equipment and your IT support system, as well as find new medical suppliers in your new location.
- One thing that most people won’t think of is to hire a professional art hanger to remove the pictures, diplomas, and art décor that hangs in a typical medical office. It may seem like something you can do yourself, but it takes more time than most managers realize and can also produce costly mistakes like a broken wall.
Moving a medical office is not easy or automatic. It takes a lot of time and planning to move successfully, often entailing months of research and work to figure out everything you need to take care of. This work includes everything talked about in this article, but also anything else you can think of in terms of your patients, employees, or the services you use in your area that now need to be changed over.
Use the checklist above to get a basic idea of the order of events when trying to move your medical office. Make sure your mail, subscriptions, memberships, equipment suppliers, labs, and any other location-specific services are all notified of your address change. You then need to begin notifying the new versions of these services in your new area when you’ll be arriving.
Then you need to take care of your building, patients, and employees. All need to be notified and prepared for you to move in multiple ways. Your patients need multiple communications about your move so they have time to find a new provider. Your employees need referrals. Your building needs to cancel your utilities at the right time and prepare maintenance and moving companies for your departure.
Moving a medical office may sound complicated at the beginning but it is simply a matter of planning.
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