Getting the Dental Records from all the dentists you have seen
It is very important to obtain a copy of the complete dental records. This includes the records of the dentist seen before and after your incident. If any dentist refuses to provide records when asked, you must provide a written request to your dentist(s).
When you ask for the dental records, it is important for the patient or family member to be sure that all the records were provided for including all x-rays.
When making a request for records from a dental office, IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT THE RECORDS ARE BEING SOUGHT FOR A DENTAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM. Often patients will tell the dentist that the records are being sought for a second opinion or to make sure that future dentists have the past dental history to avoid duplication.
** Federal law requires a dentist to document that you requested and received your records, usually by signing a HIPPA compliant form. When presented any form for signature, READ IT CAREFULLY to make sure that you are only authorizing him to provide your records. If you do not understand the form, ask for a copy to take with you and read at your convenience.
Most dental offices are warned of requests for patient records that are made by a dental malpractice lawyer. In fact, some dental offices have a protective policy of screening the records with an attorney and/or adding or deleting material prior to responding to a request for records.
For these reasons, and the potential fear of record alteration or loss of records, it is very important that the first request for records come from the patient or his/her family. Later, after the claim has been filed, the attorney can get a certified copy of the records which can then be compared to the ones obtained by the patient.
Keep in mind that certain types of records are not kept in the dental chart and must be specifically requested separately. For instance, the statements and account history are usually on computer. It is also very important that all x-rays also be duplicated and obtained as well as treatment notes, copies of prescriptions, copies of referral slips, etc. Digital x-rays must be duplicated on a computer disc or other accepted digital media.
A patient’s right to his/her dental/medical records in Florida is governed by statutory law, and a failure of any dentist to timely provide records upon written request can be a basis for professional discipline. If it becomes necessary to request your records in writing, send your request certified mail, return receipt requested. In the covering letter include the circumstances of the previous unsuccessful attempts to obtain your records, i.e. the date the request was made and the name of the person who denied your the records.
CLICK HERE for a free copy of a Medical/Dental Records Authorization Form