Revenue Cycle

HIPAA Q&A: Retaining copies of records, filming in a hospital

HIM Briefings, January 1, 2016

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Q: What is the recommendation for retaining hard copies of medical records once they have been transferred to an EMR system?

A: This varies quite a bit depending on your storage capabilities and state retention laws. I am aware of some organizations that keep these records for 3?6 years (until the statute of limitations has run out), but this is a very conservative approach. I have also seen six months and one month. I would suggest ensuring you have a rigorous scanning quality control process to reassure yourself that you in fact have the scanned documents and they are readable. I would recommend that you keep the hard copies for at least one month after scanning. You might also want to consult legal counsel on this matter.

Editor's note: Simons, director of health information and privacy officer at Maine General Medical Center in Augusta, answered these questions. She is also a HIM Briefings advisory board member. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions. Send your questions related to HIPAA compliance to Editor Jaclyn Fitzgerald at jfitzgerald@hcpro.com.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to HIM Briefings.

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