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Medical Records Policy
At the Suffolk Veterinary Group Animal Wellness & Laser Surgery Center, we understand the importance of maintaining a comprehensive medical history of all your pet’s visits and conversations with our veterinarians, so that we can provide for you the best possible consultation on their care. From physical exams to diagnostic results, we keep your pet’s information in their specifically designated file so we can refer to it any time you have questions. We also keep on file certificates of vaccination, health certificates, and all prescriptions dispensed or written for your pet. Just like with people, having a comprehensive medical history all in one place allows for the best possible care and treatment of your pet, and helps coordinate their care if they require specialty or emergency referrals.
These medical records are the legal property of Suffolk Veterinary Group, and we are required by law to keep them on file here in our office for 3-years following the date of your pet’s last visit. After 3-years, if your pet has not been in to see us for any medical care, the medical records are deemed “inactive,” and are transferred to our archive. After 2-years of inactivity in archives at our office, all medical records are destroyed, and will be completely unavailable in any format.
Archived medical records may not be accessible right away, and will require some period of wait time to retrieve before we will be able to provide consultation, copies, or referral based on archived medical records. Medical records that have been “inactivated” and placed in archives do not receive Reminder Postcards, Vet’s First Choice Online Pharmacy participation, copies of health certificates, and are ineligible to participate in any of our special offers.
If you are uncertain as to whether your pet’s records are current, archived or destroyed, please use this guide:
Current Records Have Had A Patient Exam In: 2015 to 2017
Archived “Inactive” Records Have Not Had A Patient Exam Since: 2013 to 2014
Destroyed: All records in which patient's last visit was 2012 or prior.
Thus, in December of 2017, we will be “inactivating” and moving to archives any medical records for which we have not seen a patient since 2015, and we will be destroying any medical records of patients we have not seen since 2013.
The best way to keep your pet’s medical records current with the Suffolk Veterinary Group Animal Wellness & Laser Surgery Center is to ensure your pet has at least one Yearly Health Exam at our office each year of their life. Any lapse of examination 3-years or longer will designate your pet’s medical records as “inactive,” and they will be archived, or destroyed. Even if your pet has been examined elsewhere, if we do not have an examination by our veterinarians at our facility during that same time period, your pet’s medical records will still be designated as “inactive” until such time as they have had examination at our office, or the medical records are destroyed.
This is one of the reasons why having your pet’s follow-up care also completed at the Suffolk Veterinary Group Animal Wellness & Laser Surgery Center after an emergency or specialty referral visit is important, so that we can coordinate care of your pet with our veterinary colleagues, and keep your pet’s medical records in our office current as to their ever changing needs. Without such coordination, we cannot ensure your pet receives the best care possible for their condition, and incomplete medical records do not allow for complete care.
We do not mind in the least if your pet has received veterinary care elsewhere, such as at a low cost spay/neuter or vaccine clinic, or at the animal hospital of one of our veterinary colleagues. We request that you please provide the medical records of you pet’s visit to another hospital, such as certificates, or any other treatment records, to the Suffolk Veterinary Group Animal Wellness & Laser Surgery Center so that we can provided coordinated care should your pet need services from us. Again, incomplete medical records do not allow for complete care, and if your pet was seen by a veterinarian somewhere else, we do not want to be “surprised” by a medical condition, or to repeat treatment protocols that did not work the first time they were prescribed by someone else.
Please Note: We cannot provide Certificate of Vaccination, Certificates of Health, or Certificates of Spay/Neuter if we did not provide those services ourselves. So even if you have a Certificate of Vaccination from XYZ Animal Hospital on file in your pet’s medical records at Suffolk Veterinary Group, our Veterinarians cannot sign any certificate verifying vaccination because such vaccination was not completed by our clinic. The best we can do is provide for you a copy of any vaccination history your pet’s medical record contains.
If you require copies or transfers of your pet’s medical records, we require signed consent from the individuals listed on the pet’s files as the primary owners of the pet. There is a fee associated with receiving copies of your pet’s medical records, and they must be paid prior to any copies being provided. To receive copies of your pet’s medical records, contact our office in advance so we can copy the medical records in a timely fashion, and have them ready for pick-up when you arrive. Photo ID is required to pick-up your pet’s medical records.
Very often we receive requests for transfer of medical records via our fax machine to various locations. To ensure that your personal information, which is often included on your pet’s medical records, is properly protected, we will require a signed release form from you allowing us to fax your records to the number you designate. Once the fax release form is signed, we will compare that signature to the signature we have on file at Suffolk Veterinary Group when your pet’s patient registration forms were filled out, and we will only release a pet’s medical records via fax if those signatures match.
This is not to inconvenience any of our veterinary colleagues or valued families, but to protect personal information such as mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and such from identity theft and fraud.
You can sign a fax release form here in our office, or we will fax the release form ahead of any medical records. Without a signed fax release form being returned to us, we will not release medical records for any patients.
If you have any questions regarding your pet’s medical records, please do not hesitate to call us at 631-696-2400. We’d also like to hear from you if we need to update any of our client information, such as phone numbers or mailing addresses, we have on file to ensure that you receive regular communications from Suffolk Veterinary Group in a timely manner.
Sign up using the form below or call (631) 696-2400 to make an appointment.
I want to thank Dr. Winkler and his staff. They are the most compassionate animal care center ever. And when we recently had to put our kitty down, no where else will you receive the compassion they show. God bless them for their kindness and caring hearts.