New law increases dentist obligations in legal cases

As a result of recently passed legislation, dental practices now have more of an obligation to make patient records available in legal cases.

Under the bill, AB 1337, if an attorney at law or his or her representative presents a written authorization signed by an adult patient, the patient's legal representative, a parent or guardian of a minor, or the heir or personal representative of a deceased patient, a dental practice must promptly make all of the patient's records under its custody or control available for inspection and copying by the attorney or their representative. In addition, copying of the records cannot be performed by the dental practice when the requesting attorney has employed a professional photocopier as his or her representative to obtain or review the records on his or her behalf.

If the records requested are maintained electronically and if the requesting party requests an electronic copy, the dental practice must provide the records in the electronic form and format requested, if readily producible. If the records are not readily producible in said format, the practice and requesting party must agree on an acceptable format.

For more information on this new law, contact CDA Practice Support at 800.232.7645. Also view the Access to Patient Records FAQ at cda.org/practicesupport.

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