Keeping Your Dental Practice Records in Order

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With the new year right around the corner, now is a good time to consider cleaning up and purging old records. But, before you start throwing everything out, you should familiarize yourself with basic record retention guidelines. To help you understand what should be kept and for how long, Doeren Mayhew’s dental CPAs have compiled a Record Retention Schedule to share general guidelines. Download it now!

Why Keep Dental Practice Records?

There are many reasons to keep different dental practice records, but eliminating scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and keeping your dental license in good standing is reason enough. Tax and Accounting Records It is important to hold onto your business records in case of an IRS audit or other examination. Retaining unnecessary records, however will soon exceed the storage space available for most dental practices. Establishing a retention schedule can help take into account state and federal regulations, as well as industry standards. Patient Records Patient records are a key component to the overall quality of the patient’s care. Proper maintenance and retention of these records is important for legal and risk management purposes, but also as a requirement to keep your dental license. Failure to retain required patient records could lead to a loss of your dental license and can cause issues in the case of a malpractice action. These records at a minimum should include treatment notes, x-rays, photographs, evaluations, diagnoses, prognoses, lab reports, prescriptions, insurance claim forms, billing records and other pertinent patient information. Most states require patient records to be maintained for a minimum of ten years after the last office visit. Some states have age requirements – all records should be kept for patients under age 18 not only for ten years, but until the patient reaches age 23. However, you should check with your dental state regulators to determine what your state’s patient record keeping regulations are. If you still have questions after reviewing our Record Retention Schedule about which accounting and tax records you should keep, contact the dental CPAs and advisors at Doeren Mayhew to gain answers.

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