What comprises dental records? If a patient asks for their records, what is the legal expectation of what the records consist of beyond xrays?

Is there any part of the file that the dentist is not obligated to deliver to the patient when records are requested? We have a patient that is asking for intake forms, chart, ledger, treatment records, xrays, paper files, computer files, emails and correspondence, molds, impressions, temporaries, any documents or computer files that reference the patient. This was requested in a letter, not a legal action.
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Steven Choi
San Francisco, California
Personal Injury
415-777-4878

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(Make sure to check the section cited below yourself to make sure there have been no changes.)

The law regulating patient right to access to medical records is found in the California Health and Safety Code Section 123100-123149.5. It gives patients the right to:

  • Inspect records during business hours within five days of presenting a written request.
  • Receive copies of records within 15 days of presenting a written request.
  • Receive x-rays or tracings within 15 days of presenting a written request.

The law gives the dentist the right to:

  • Charge a reasonable clerical cost for locating and making the records available.
  • Charge $.25 per page (or $.50 per page for microfilm copy), as well as reasonable clerical costs, for copies.
  • Charge reasonable costs, not exceeding actual duplication cost, for x-ray copies.
  • Prepare a summary of the records as an alternative to providing copies or allowing inspection.

10/14/2010