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Medical Record Retention Laws & Your Records – What You Need to Know


Posted on July 3, 2018

Medical Record Retention Laws & Your Records – What You Need to Know

When you go to the doctor records are created to track diagnoses and treatments. These records are essential for charting your medical history and noting any serious conditions or potential threats that you and your physician should be aware of in the future. These records stay with your physician and you are allowed access to copies of them, but if your doctor is retiring and closing their practice there are things that you need to be aware of.

Although laws vary by state, medical records only need to be retained for a specific number of years after a patient has last been seen. That means if your doctor retired and closed their practice and many years have passed, you could be at risk of losing those essential documents forever.

How Long Are My Medical Records Kept?

For the most part, state and federal guidelines do not dictate how long smaller practices must keep records. These typically refer to hospitals and medical facilities. For example, hospitals must keep records for 5 years. There are, however, guidelines put forth by various medical associations that many medical practices follow. These vary by state, but typical recommendations for record retention are:

  •  Adult patients: 10 years from the last patient visit
  • Deceased patients: 5 years after the date of death
  • Minor patients: Until the patient is 28 years old

What If I Am Nearing My Deadline for Records to be Destroyed?

If you are nearing the deadline for record retention, it’s time to locate copies of your records. It’s essential for future doctors to have a thorough knowledge of your medical history and that involves knowing past diagnoses, conditions, and treatments.

How Can I Obtain Copies of My Medical Records?

If you are looking to obtain copies of your medical records you may be in for a long and frustrating process. You will need to request copies of your records, but if your physician is no longer practicing and their office is closed, where do you even begin? Thankfully, Order Medical Records is here to help. We offer record retrieval services for individuals that need to obtain copies of their medical records from a physician or medical facility.

Is Order Medical Records Easy to Use?

Yes! In fact, our record ordering system is much simpler than trying to work through your physician. You can simply submit your request online with our 5 minute ordering process and then let us do the rest of the work. That means you can sit back and relax as one of our record retrieval specialists—who are, of course, HIPAA trained—tracks down and obtains that copies of your records. Our process is simple, affordable, and stress-free. If you need to obtain copies of medical records before they are destroyed, visit us online today at Order Medical Records!

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