Allcare to transfer dental records in Pa.

Acting Pennsylvania Attorney General Bill Ryan has reached an agreement with Allcare Dental & Dentures to transfer its medical records to another dental office in the state.

Allcare Dental & Dentures in Erie, PA, agreed to send the dental and laboratory records for all patients to Esser Family Dental, also in Erie, by January 29.

"The Health Care Section continues working to assist Allcare patients across Pennsylvania and throughout the country who have filed hundreds of complaints since the dental chain suddenly closed its doors at the beginning of January," Ryan said in a press release. "Our investigation into the sudden closure is ongoing, as are our efforts to gain access to consumers' personal medical records."

Former Allcare patients from the Erie office will be notified when their records have been transferred and the agreement requires that the confidentiality of their records be maintained at all times. Once the transfer is complete, Erie patients will have access to their records through Esser Family Dental, but will also maintain the ability to retransfer copies of their records to any other healthcare provider of their choice.

Additionally, the agreement allows Esser Family Dental to take custody of all dental work in progress and dental prostheses that are located at the Erie Allcare office, so those items can be provided to patients.

Ryan said efforts continue to distribute or transfer records at other Allcare facilities across the state.

On December 31, Allcare -- the subject of numerous lawsuits and complaints in recent years -- shut down all of its U.S. offices without warning, citing "financial difficulties." Hundreds of patients have since stepped forward claiming they prepaid for services they never received.

Two former patients of Allcare last week filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, claiming Allcare knowingly took money from them and potentially thousands of other patients for services it never intended to deliver.

This is the first federal legal action to be taken against the company on behalf of former Allcare patients since it shut down. In a 15-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, James Crowl of Mansfield, OH, and Gabriel Williams of Dayton, OH, allege that they and others paid up to thousands of dollars for dental care that they did not receive because the company ceased operation without warning.

Allcare claims on an informational website that its corporate website was shut down earlier this month by its service provider, along with its telephone service.

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