I’m utterly heartbroken. I’ve been seeing the same Elgin dentist my whole life, and I just found out he retired. I didn’t even get a chance to go in for one last cleaning and checkup. He’s just gone. The letter I got said that he found someone to replace him, and that all my records are being transferred. I don’t want my records sent to anyone. I want them sent to me, so I can choose a new Elgin dentist and take them with me wherever I go. I don’t know this new person. I called the office and demanded that they send me my files, and they told me there was a fee. This doesn’t sound right at all. These are my records. What recourse do I have?
Sorry to hear that you lost your long-time Elgin dentist. It’s never easy when a practice changes hands, and it sounds like you had a fantastic relationship with your doctor.
As for ownership and transferring of the records themselves, the documents technically belong to the doctor. He must keep treatment records by law. However, offices are usually very cooperative in transferring necessary information, if you find a new Elgin dentist you prefer. Sometimes there is a small fee for the service, just because it takes the staff time to put everything together and mail it. Over the years, you probably amassed quite a file of information and x-rays, and they’ll need to sort through everything to make sure the new Elgin dentist receives all pertinent information.
With that said, your words sound more like you’re upset about not being involved in the decision, rather than having a specific issue with the doctor who took over. Before you get into looking for a new Elgin dentist, why not consider giving the successor a try? The dentist who retired no doubt vetted his replacement carefully, and chose him because he believed he’d give you good care. His decision to transfer your records was an ethical obligation, and he needed to ensure someone was able to help you after he left. In these types of situations, the new doctor tends to retain the entire practice as a whole, not just the records. So, you’ll likely be working with the same staff that you always have. Seeing familiar faces, and being treated by people you already know and trust, can help ease the transition. You can always call the office and clarify who else is still on staff, and request to be booked with a hygienist you already know for your next cleaning.
This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.