CDSBC recently updated its Dental Recordkeeping Guidelines to include changes to the Limitation Act.
The Limitation Act sets the time limits people have to sue one another in civil court. This has implications for the length of time dentists must retain patient records. A new Limitation Act was introduced in British Columbia, effective June 1, 2013.
Dentists must now maintain complete patient records as follows:
In addition to clinical records, other records that must be retained include appointment records, lab prescriptions and invoices. Diagnostic or study models are also considered part of the permanent patient record and must be kept for the prescribed period.
Working models do not have to be retained for any specific period of time. A decision to keep working models should be based on the complexity of the case and is left to the judgment of the individual practitioner.
The above guidelines do not apply to minors and persons under a disability. In these cases, the limitation periods do not begin running until the person turns 19 or until the disability ends.
Persons Under Disability
This information is provided only as a general guide, and should not be taken as legal advice. There are additional exceptions in cases involving fraud, concealment, acknowledgement, and where a notice to proceed has been delivered. Dentists who have specific questions about the Limitation Act should review the legislation and consult a lawyer.
© The College of Dental Surgeons, 2013