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Iowa Admin. Code 653-13.7

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Standards of Practice; office practice

A physician can chose his or her patients, but must not neglect the patient once a relationship has been established.  A physician must provide a written notice of termination of the physician-patient relationship, and must ensure that emergency medical care is available to the patient for the 30 days following termination. 

A physician may not pay or receive compensation for referrals of patients.  A physician is also required to maintain the confidentiality of all patient information.  Information may be disclosed when authorized by the patient, the law, or for treatment purposes. 

A physician must provide a patient or a patient’s guardian with a copy of all medical records upon written request.  A physician must maintain patient medical records for 7 years from the date of last service.  A physician must also maintain the medical records of a minor patient for a period of 1 year after the minor reaches the age of majority. 

Upon the death of the physician or sale or transfer of the practice, the physician or physician’s representative must ensure that all medical records are transferred to another physician or entity under the same confidentiality standards.  The physician must notify all patients that their records will be transferred to another physician or entity and must give patients the option of having the records transferred to another physician of their choice.

Iowa law also prohibits any sexual act or encounter with a patient or the patient’s guardian, which may lead to disciplinary action and is considered unprofessional and unethical conduct.  There are also certain provisions stating that a physician may engage in sexual contact with a former patient once the physician-patient relationship was completely terminated.   However, the board of medicine may examine the specific circumstances surrounding the relationship to determine whether it was completely terminated.  A psychiatrist may never engage in sexual contact with a current or former patient or the patient’s guardian, even if the patient consents.  A physician is also prohibited from engaging in sexual harassment. 

A physician may not engage in disruptive behavior, which includes a pattern of contentious, threatening or intractable behavior that interferes with patient care.  

Current as of June 2015