CHAPTER 72

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 165

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE PRACTICE OF DENTISTRY AND DENTAL HYGIENE.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :

Section 1. AMEND Subchapter V, Chapter 11, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Section to read as follows:

Ҥ 1195. Dentist discontinuing practice or leaving state; death of a dentist; change of dentist and transfer of patient records; notification of patients.

(a) Every dentist licensed to practice under this Chapter who is discontinuing a practice in this State or is leaving this State and who is not transferring patient records to another dentist shall notify his or her patients of record by publishing a notice to that effect in a newspaper of daily circulation in the area where the dentist practices. The notice must be published at least 3 times over a 3 month period in advance of discontinuing the practice or leaving the State and must explain how a patient can procure his or her patient records. All patients of record who have not requested their records thirty (30) days before the closing of the practice shall be notified by first class mail by the dentist to permit the patients to procure their records. Any patient records that have not been procured within seven (7) years after the dentist discontinues practice or leaves the State may be permanently disposed of in a manner that ensures the confidentiality of the records.

(b) When a dentist licensed to practice under this Chapter dies and has not transferred patient records to another dentist and has not made provisions for a transfer of patient records to occur upon the dentist’s death, a personal representative of the dentist’s estate shall notify the dentist’s patients of record by publishing a notice to that effect in a newspaper of daily circulation in the area where the dentist practiced. The notice must be published at least 3 times over a 3 month period after the dentist’s death and must explain how a patient can procure patient records. All patients of record who have not requested their records thirty (30) days after publication shall be notified by first class mail by the personal representative of the estate to permit patients to procure their records. Any patient records that have not been procured within seven (7) years after the death of the dentist may be permanently disposed of in a manner that ensures confidentiality of the records.

(c) Whenever a patient changes from the care of one dentist to another dentist, the prior dentist shall transfer the records of the patient to the new dentist upon the written request of either the new dentist or the patient. If a patient changes care from one dentist to another dentist and fails to notify the prior dentist, or leaves the care of the prior dentist for a period of seven (7) years from the last entry date on the patient’s record and fails to notify the prior dentist, or fails to request the transfer of records to the new dentist, then the prior dentist shall maintain said records for a period of seven (7) years from the last entry date in the patient’s dental record after which time the records may be permanently disposed of in a manner that ensures confidentiality of the records.

(d) This section shall not apply to a dentist who has seen or treated a patient on referral from another dentist and who has provided a record of the diagnosis or treatment to another dentist, hospital or agency which has provided treatment for the patient.

(e) A dentist or the personal representative of the estate of a dentist who disposes of patient records in accordance with the provisions of this Section is not liable for any direct or indirect loss suffered as a result of the disposal of a patient’s records.”

Approved June 28, 2005