Access to confidential records
1 answer from Holli Stone.
I was the complainant in a NY State veterinary board complaint. My complaint was reviewed in September 2013 and dismissed in Nov. 2013. When I spoke with the investigator, after learning that my complaint was dismissed, I specifically asked if the vet had submitted the same medical records I had a copy of. The investigator told me that he did submit the hand written records, which I had a copy of, but in addition, he also submitted typed medical records. The hand written records showed indisputable evidence of the vet vaccinating an unwell dog. Indisputable evidence of insulin overdose. The last recorded record in the hand written records says my dog’s blood sugar reading was LO (under 20). There is no record that he his blood sugar level as checked to make sure it was in a safe range. One dose of insulin dropped his blood sugar to LO. The hand written records show that we were told to give him that same dose twice daily. After a week on insulin we called in the blood sugar readings we have. They are not in the hand written records. Based on those numbers, the vet wrote in the hand written records to take the dog off insulin, completely, and failed to give any follow up instructions. In the hand written records, there is no record of any recommendation of diagnostics of any type over an 8 year period. The hand written records show a dog with a history of being medicated for aggression and showing 36 pounds of weight gain, supporting my claim that due to his failure to recommend diagnostics, he missed a hypothyroidism diagnosis. The hand written records show no record of temperature, respiratory readings, check of eyes, ears, etc…, over an 8 year period. Yet my complaint was dismissed. The vet was not even minimally cited for record keeping. There has to be something in those typed medical records that explains why my complaint was dismissed. But those records only seem to exist in the hands of the vet, the NY Office of professions and the NY State veterinary board.
The hand written medical records I had a copy of I had acquired four months after my dog was no longer under this vet’s care (March 2012). They were all that was in his file at the time. When he was transferred to a new vet, the hand written records were faxed to the new vet. No typed records were shared (Dec. 2011).
After learning about the typed records, I again requested a copy of my dog’s records (May 2014). Again, I was given a copy of the hand written records. No typed records exist in his file.
I recently learned that the vet has sold his practice. I stopped in and asked to see my dog’s file. All that was in the file, as of November 2014, are the typed records. The new owner of the practice gave me a statement in writing saying there were no typed records in my dog’s file. The receptionist stated that she knew there was something going and and remembers the vet taking my dog’s file home. She went on to say that she was never asked to type up any records.
To make matters worse, the NY State veterinary board was in violation of education law when my complaint was reviewed and dismissed (2013). They were short 3 of the required 7 vets on the board. They remained in violation of this law until Nov. 2014.
I have recently filed a FOIL request to gain access to the NY State veterinary board meeting minutes. The 20 business days have come and gone and due to a non-response I have recently filed an appeal. Why would such seemingly easy to access information not be shared as requested? Perhaps due to the vacancies on the board, they did not, by law, meet quorum at many of the meetings?
I filed a FOIL request to obtain a copy of the typed medical records and was denied due to education confidentiality law: 6510(8)
The files of the department relating to the investigation of possible instances of professional misconduct, or the unlawful practice of any profession licensed by the board of regents, or the unlawful use of a professional title or the moral fitness of an applicant for a professional license or permit, shall be confidential and not subject to disclosure at the request of any person, except upon the order of a court in a pending action or proceeding. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to documents introduced in evidence at a hearing held pursuant to this chapter and shall not prevent the department from sharing information concerning investigations with other duly authorized public agencies responsible for professional regulation or criminal prosecution. - See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/EDN/VIII/130/3/3/6510#sthash.ROWxOLNa.dpuf
My question - is there a way, because I was the complainant in the case, that I can still access those typed medical records? If I am not able to view them, is there a way I can confirm that they do indeed exist?
Thank you, Holli Stone
Sorry, all that are in my dog’s file, as of November 2014, are the hand written records, there are no typed records in the file.