American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Checklist: Retiring, Selling or Closing a Practice

Retiring, selling, or closing your practice can be a daunting experience. With numerous tasks and deadlines to be accomplished to achieve your goal you may wondering where to begin. First, note that it is important to work with an accountant and a health care attorney to assure that your best interest is kept in focus and that you comply with any and all legal issues. You may also wish to contact your state or specialty association as well as your malpractice carrier for additional guidance.

  • Notify employees.

  • Notify patients*. Download template letter (AOA member login required).

  • Evaluate the terms of the lease and give notice* to landlord as required, or consider options to renegotiate if the lease is of longer duration than the time the physician wishes to remain in practice.

  • Investigate sources to sell or dispose of medical and office equipment.

  • Make arrangements to store or transfer custody of medical records.

  • Inventory drugs and dispose, sell, transfer, or donate according to federal and state requirements. Contact the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for specifics.

  • If the physician is retiring or relocating, notify DEA in writing* and enclose DEA Controlled Substance Certificate and controlled substance order forms (cross out and write "void" on forms before sending).

  • If changing office address, send letter* to DEA six weeks in advance, notifying the agency of the change, along with old and new addresses.

  • If the physician is retiring, send letter* stating plans, along with Controlled Substance Registration Certificate, to the State Department of Public Safety along with any remaining triplicate prescription forms.

  • Advise county medical society, specialty society, and the AOA membership departments of a change of address or retirement*.

  • If the physician has practiced under a name other than his or her own (e.g., "Doctor's Osteopathic Clinic"), he or she should have filed an assumed name certificate with the county clerk. The physician should contact the county clerk to deactivate this assumed name if he or she is closing the practice without a buyer or if someone else is assuming the practice under that name.

  • If the physician is in solo practice as a professional association, a lawyer must file "Articles of Dissolution" with the states Secretary of State's Office. In addition, a lawyer or accountant should contact the comptroller of public accounts to pay any annual franchise taxes that may be due.

  • If the physician and other physicians have practiced as a professional association and the professional association will continue in existence after the physician's retirement or departure, shares of ownership must be transferred to another physician licensed in the state. A lawyer should be consulted for this matter.

  • If the physician and other physicians have been practicing as a partnership (or have had an operating agreement like a partnership to share office space) and the partnership will continue after the physician's retirement or departure, then withdrawing from the partnership or otherwise transferring the partnership interest is necessary. The departing physician should consult a lawyer regarding this matter.

  • If the physician has operated X-ray and/or mammography equipment in the office, the physician holds a license from the state Department of Health and must maintain a record of the transfer or disposal of such equipment and notify the Department of Health*.

  • Send written notification* of retirement or a change of practice address to Medicare Medicaid, CHAMPUS. Include the effective date of the retirement or address change.

  • Advise professional liability insurance carrier of the physician's change in status*. If the physician has a "claims made" policy, consider purchasing additional insurance to cover claims that may be filed after the coverage lapses. (This additional insurance is known as a "tail policy.") If the physician will be practicing part-time, insurance coverage may still be advisable.

*Submitting information in writing by certified return receipt letter is the suggested way of communication.


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