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medical records missing California

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  • medical records missing California

    Hi Forum,

    My wife has been going thru a bit of hassle trying to get dental records from not just one....but a couple of orthodontist's and TMJ offices( they just cant find them). I was wondering if there is some sort of laws concerning record retention in the medical/dental fields. And if so, what are the possible recourse(s) that we may pursue to get these records??

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Contact your state's Office of the Professions and Educational Department for laws regarding the time frame requried for an office to maintain medical records.

    I believe most human medical professions are requried to retain records for a minimum of seven years, but each state may be different. This may be split between how many years they are required to carry records on-site as opposed to off-site locations. If the records have been moved to an off-site location, it could take awhile to try and locate them.

    If you're looking for records from ten to fifteen years ago, you might be out of luck.


    • #3
      California Health & Safety Code Sec. 123110
      J.E.B. Pickett
      Wynne Law Firm
      California Wage & Hour Class Action Attorneys.

      Disclaimer: This response and any materials or content provided by this response are for general informational purposes only and should not be relied on or considered as legal advice. Under no circumstances does this informational response, directly or indirectly, establish or intend to establish an Attorney-Client relationship.


      • #4
        Quote from link: "Nothing in this chapter shall require a health care provider to retain records longer than required by applicable statutes or administrative regulations."

        All well and good to request records, but if the records are older than what the office is requried to keep, then they may not exist anymore and requesting copies of them are not going to do any good.

        In New York, veterinary medicine is required to keep patient records for three years. That means we can legally destory anything inactive and older than 2005. I've had clients come in and request copies of records from pets we haven't seen at our office since 2003, or even farther back. We have to tell these clients that unfortunately since they have not been active at our clinic for five years, their pet's medical records are no longer on file with us.

        We use shredded records as cat litter.