Federal and local regulations require specific methods and guidelines for the retaining and destruction of medical records, making it crucial to follow the stringent standards put forth by HIPAA and your state legislation. These laws are designed to protect personal, sensitive patient information and offer a level of legal protection against you and your business.
Why Medical Record Retention and Destruction is Critical
Medical offices have their patients’ most sensitive personal information. Following the proper medical record retention and destruction processes will work to ensure their most private information is stored safely and securely and destroyed when appropriate. Federal and state laws regulate how long medical records are kept and when they need to be destroyed. Deviations from these guidelines can result in steep fines. A HIPAA violation fine can cost as much as $50,000.
HIPAA, State Retention Requirements
Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ensures that healthcare providers are held responsible for protecting the sensitive information and data of their patients. Under HIPAA, medical records must be securely stored for six years from the date it was created or the date it was last in effect. Each state also puts into place retention requirements that are often much longer than the federal HIPAA’s standard of six years.
Medical Record Retention and Destruction Logs
Medical record retention and destruction logs keep track of the records that are being kept and those that have been destroyed. Accurate log-keeping will let you know when the stored files that are are ready for destruction.
Keeping an accurate log for medical record retention and destruction helps keep you in full compliance with HIPAA and state regulations, and help you manage your records, therefore reducing errors and the potential for costly fines.
Paper Medical Record Retention
Hard copy medical records are typically stored in bulk through an off-site document storage provider. Once the retention time has lapsed, they will be thoroughly and properly destroyed.
Digital Medical Record Retention
Electronic health record systems that are becoming more widely used and accepted are configured to track the retention times of individual files and documents. Files and data are automatically permanently deleted once the retention period has ended.
Why Choose RW Lone Star?
RW Lone Star is a full-service shredding and data destruction company dedicated to guarding against data breaches and other forms of information theft. A staff of industry professionals is dedicated to safely and securely destroying sensitive personal and business information and keeping it out of the hands of those who can do harm against you.
Get Started at RW Lone Star Today
At RW Lone Star, we understand how important your personal data is to the security and safety of your life and business. Contact one of our knowledgeable representatives today for complete information on our full range of services, to have all of your questions answered, and for an estimate on your document destruction project.