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If a Dr. abandons a practice what happens to the records of the patients. Is a release...

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astaroth | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 9, 2011 at 10:46 PM via web

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If a Dr. abandons a practice what happens to the records of the patients. Is a release required for an appointed replacement Dr. to view those records

My question concerns the medical record specifically, as to whether another physician, not previously conected with a practice, needs to obtain a release of medical records consent from patients within that practice.

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krcavnar | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 13, 2011 at 11:24 PM (Answer #1)

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Medical records are the property and responsibility of the physician or physician office.  It is the responsibility of the physician to maintain records for up to 7 years and 25 years for children under the age of 18.  A doctor disposing of the practice should make reasonable efforts to ensure the maintenance of the records by providing the records to the patient to whom they relate. The records may also be provided to another doctor identified by the patient at the request of the patient.  Unfortunately when a doctor in solo practice dies unexpectedly his or her estate is liable for the safe-keeping of records.  Patients should approach the estate and ask for the records to be sent to another doctor. When a doctor leaves a practice without turnover procedures due to the prospect of malpractice issues generally the department of a particular state relegated to licensing and oversight of physicians should take control of such documents and give patients notice to have records transferred to another physician. 

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