The Overlooked Basics
The Overlooked Basics
A summary of what every dental practice owner should know and implement in the day to day operations of their practice.
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Record Retention Requirements for Dentists - Part I

4/14/2016 7:00:00 AM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 811
 

Record Retention Requirements 
for Dentists: Part I
The recording of accurate patient information can be essential to the overall quality of a patient's dental care. However, many dentists don't realize that proper record maintenance and retention is not only advisable from a legal and risk management standpoint, but is a requirement of their dental license.
 
The Georgia Board of Dentistry requires that a dentist keep patient records for a period of no less than ten (10) years from the date of the patient's last office visit (Board Rule 150-8-01(h)(4).  The dentist must maintain the patient's complete dental record, which may include treatment notes, evaluations, diagnoses, prognoses, x-rays, photographs, diagnostic models, laboratory reports, laboratory prescriptions, drug prescriptions, insurance claim forms, billing records, and other technical information used in accessing a patient's condition. 
 
The failure to retain patient records for their required ten (10) year period can cause a dentist to lose his or her license and also has the potential to cause a dentist to lose best defense to a malpractice action (a well-documented patient file).  In some cases, it is recommended that a dentist keep patient records for greater than ten (10) years. 
 
For instance, dentists should keep the files of patients who are under the age of 18 not only for ten (10) years, but at least until that patient reaches the age of 23.  Because the statute of limitation on a malpractice claim tolls until the minor reaches the age of 18, Georgia's five (5) year statute of repose may permit the minor to file a malpractice lawsuit until the minor patient turns 23 years of age.
 
Dentists should also consult with their professional insurance carrier regarding patient record retention, as some insurance carriers may have specific guidelines concerning the period of time that a practice owner should maintain patient records.
 


April 14, 2016


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