When Can Medical Offices Destroy Records?
The basic guidelines for destroying medical records are as follows:
- Adult patients: 10 years from the date of the last patient appointment
- Minor patients: 28 years from birth date
- Deceased patients: Five years from death date
If your practice is in the midst of any sort of civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding, hold onto the records until the proceeding has been resolved. Without these records, it is difficult, if not impossible, for someone to defend a case.
Keep in mind that medical record retention laws and regulations may differ slightly from one state to the next. Some states also allow for paper records to be transferred to electronic form (i.e. scanned) to cut down on paper storage.
Create A Record Retention Schedule
Established a retention schedule for your medical practice in writing. You should detail what information you keep, how long you keep it, and what storage medium you're using. Make sure to include provisions for automatic transfer of old, inactive records and how and where the medical records will be destroyed.
How To Dispose Of Medical Records
Once the appropriate length of time has passed for retaining patient records, it is imperative that they are destroyed properly. The last thing you want is for these documents to get into the wrong hands. For most medical offices, the task of destroying their paperwork is overwhelming. If you find yourself in this situation, consider outsourcing destruction services to a professional team. You'll free up your staff for more important tasks, and you'll have a peace of mind knowing that the job gets done the right way.
UCI is a full-service copier company serving the greater Amarillo area. We offer a range of copier, document, and managed services for businesses of all sizes with document destruction services available in Amarillo and Lubbock. To learn more about our services, contact us.