Does Medicare have its own record retention requirements?

Although there are few dental procedures covered under the federal Medicare program for people over 65 years of age, dentists should be aware these regulations require providers to retain clinical records for at least five years (or as determined by state law or the state statute of limitations which in Wisconsin is 10 years from… Continue Reading Does Medicare have its own record retention requirements?

Must I follow any specific procedures when disposing of patient records?

Even after the applicable record retention period expires, the disposal of records remains subject to the requirements of Section 146.819 and 895.505 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Your records contain what the statutes refer to as personal information relating to the patient (i.e., medical conditions, treatments, address, Social Security number, etc.) which the statutes seek to… Continue Reading Must I follow any specific procedures when disposing of patient records?

Who has a right to access the records of a deceased patient?

HIPAA’s privacy requirements continue to protect a patient’s records even after the patient’s death. Since Wisconsin does not impose duties more stringent than those under HIPAA, those requirements set the standard. Following a patient’s death, the right to request and review records passes to the deceased’s personal representative. Before allowing this person access to records,… Continue Reading Who has a right to access the records of a deceased patient?

What happens to patient records if I retire or leave the practice?

If you retire or otherwise leave practice, Section 146.819(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes requires you to provide for either the maintenance or destruction of patient records. You can provide maintenance through a written agreement with someone who assumes the obligation to maintain the records. The most common form of this arrangement would be in connection… Continue Reading What happens to patient records if I retire or leave the practice?

How should patient records be handled when dentists divide a practice? Can the records simply go with the dentist who has been caring for the patient?

The answer depends, to large extent, on the specific facts and on whether the division of the practice is amicable. While we will address several possible scenarios, remember no matter what the situation may be, each patient has a right under Section 146.83(2) to request and receive a copy of their own individual records. While… Continue Reading How should patient records be handled when dentists divide a practice? Can the records simply go with the dentist who has been caring for the patient?

May I deny patients access to their dental records because they owe a balance on their account? May I charge for providing copies of records?

Electronic requirement: No and yes. In a prior case involving this exact question, the DEB fined a dentist for refusing to provide patient records because of a past due balance. Section 146.83(2) of Wisconsin Statutes further provides at the time you first treat a patient, you must give them a written statement advising them they… Continue Reading May I deny patients access to their dental records because they owe a balance on their account? May I charge for providing copies of records?

I have been asked by the police department for a patient’s dental records. Should I provide them?

Both HIPAA and the Wisconsin statutes protect the privacy of patients’ dental and medical records except in certain limited situations. In fact, HIPAA and Wisconsin protections are not identical. In the absence of patient consent, you may disclose records only where such disclosure is permissible under both HIPAA and Wisconsin law (such as the child… Continue Reading I have been asked by the police department for a patient’s dental records. Should I provide them?