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Medical Records at Retiring Pediatrican's Office


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Do you think it is really important that I get these?

 

We've been with this pediatrician since both my children were born. There offices close in less than a week (lots of notice, NOT). I have to go down there in person to get the records sent to a new doctor. They'll send the records for FREE to another doctor's office but I have to pay $35 EACH if I want a copy. They said that after the date of their closing (because they are retiring) the records will no longer be available.

 

How can I send them for free if I don't even have a doctor yet? I'm still trying to find one in town that is taking new patients.

 

Is it worth it to pay $70 for these records? Seems like a fortune right now.

 

My son is allergic to bees and carries an epi-pen. I think a new pedi would take our word for it, wouldn't they, especially since he HAS the epi-pen?

 

My daughter very occasionally needs breathing treatments after a viral infection so we have a nebulizer.

 

Otherwise they are and have been totally healthy.

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This just does not seem right somehow. I was under the impression that medical records had to be kept for some time.

 

Could they provide you with a form similar to what schools ask for? Having a record of vaccines would be good if you choose to vaccinate. Perhaps they could give you a "summary" sheet that provides info on recent treatments/etc. and should cost very little.

 

Here is a question . . . if the records will not be available after the retirement, why don't they just give you the charts? They MUST have to keep the files if they are telling you that you have to pay for copies.

 

Hope you come up with a good solution . . . this just seems weird and unprofessional.

 

Adrianne in IL

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There are state laws that records must be available for several years after the closing of a practice. I would get on the phone tomorrow with your state department of health. I would also call the hospital affiliated with the doctor and ask them about the law. Also, call your local state medical association. They cannot give you that little notice about availability of your records. Also, try googling health records laws for your state.

 

Louise

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What if you notify them that yes, you will be requesting records be forwarded to your new doctor, but that you are still in the process of finding a new practice?

 

That gives them time to prepare the records, now, while they still have paid staff. And it hopefully gives you time to find a place to send them to.

 

$35 seems sort of low in comparison to the extra visits that you might have to pay for at a new practice to establish the need for the epi-pen and other items.

 

Also, when I joined the military, I ended up having to submit all of my pediatric records in order to appeal a medical disqualification. It would have been very worth investing the money in copies of the records to be able to demonstrate my being fit for service.

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I'm guessing that with your children's health issues you'll need to find a dr. for them before a year is up. So, that's what I would do...find a new doc, make an appt and request the records be sent to the new doc. Even if your kids don't NEED to see the dr at the moment, I think it's important to have someone lined up in case of..gulp...emergency.

 

I do think it's important to have access to your kids' early records, especially the vax records.

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You've gotten good advice so far.

 

I would also ask if you can just have the originals for yourself (?). A couple of years ago, I saw a local news report where a doctor's office was closing. It turns out that as staff cleaned out the office, they just dumped patient records in the dumpster behind the office park -- a serious breach of privacy. It was a big mess & in this age of identity theft & so on, I'd want to make sure I had the original files or watched them shred all our files. Kwim? Don't know how all that would fit in w/ your state's medical records laws, but I'd definitely be asking the questions....

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