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Practice closed - providing patients notice

November 2, 2012
Question:

Jennifer, 

My practice is closed.  I have no idea when it will be open.  I do not know what my obligation is to provide patients notice.  Please address. 

Thanks,
Dr. P

Answer:

With the devastation Hurricane Sandy has left in her wake, it is not likely many patients will have an expectation for your office to be open, but they may attempt to contact regardless.  If your answering service is available and/or your service or phone system is up, I recommend having an automated response generated if you and your staff cannot get to your practice.  The message should inform the patient that you are not open or available and that if they are experiencing a medical emergency to please hang up and call 911 immediately.  For patients scheduled this week and during your antiticpated outage, you should consider utilizing your best efforts (try calling and email if you have their email) that your practice is closed, and their appointment has been deferred until such time as your practice is open.  Advise the patient they will be contacted for a new appointment date, and be sure to keep good records and have staff schedule these patients as soon as possible.  

Best wishes to all.  Should you require legal assistance in response to the current crisis for real estate, trusts, etc., please do not hesitate to contact our practice.  For other practice areas we provide representation, check out our website.

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