RECORDS STORAGE FOR A CLOSING MEDICAL PRACTICE
Healthcare Providers need to address the protection, storage, release and shredding of the medical records of their patients when closing a medical practice. Time Document Storage can provide you with a quote today and start moving your medical records into storage tomorrow.
Consider These Steps
Check federal and state laws that apply to the retention requirements for each type of medical records you hold.
Get a detailed quote for storage and all the other related services you will need. Storage. Patient Access. Destruction of Medical Records after retention requirements.
Notify your patients of your closing and how to access their medical records.
Assign destruction dates to all charts and pre-authorize shredding on those dates.
Storage of Patient Charts
Medical Records may be archived with a reputable commercial storage firm such as TIME DOCUMENT STORAGE. Before records are released to a storage vendor, patients should be notified. Patients may be notified of the opportunity to obtain copies by publishing a series of notices in the local newspaper or direct mail notice.
Medical Records Security
TIME DOCUMENT STORAGE understands the HIPAA requirements for privacy, maintaining the confidentiality of protected health information, guard the integrity of the information, and assure the availability of the information for continuing care.
HIPAA Liability Issues to Consider
Since a healthcare provider remains liable for accidental or incidental disclosure of protected health information during or after the closure of a practice choosing the right record storage company is important. TIME DOCUMENT STORAGE is HIPAA compliant and will protect the integrity and confidentiality of the information we store while assuring access for continued patient care.
Shredding Medical Records
To control storage costs, TIME Document STORAGE will shred the medical records that are past the period of required retention. We suggest that you also contact your malpractice insurance carrier to receive written advise of retention periods so coverage will not be compromised. Your malpractice insurance carrier may need access to patient records after the closure of a practice. Physicians closing their practices may wish to contact the American Medical Association and their state licensure board for guidance for retention periods.
Medicare Storage Requirements
Medicare requires records be kept in their original or legally reproduced form for at least five years from the date of the settlement of the claim to comply with the Medicare Conditions of Participation.
Getting legal advice is also recommended to determine the appropriate retention periods and assure compliance with state laws and regulatory agencies.
Closing a Medical Practice in New York State
Retirement/death of physician and/or sale of practice:
• When physician retires, sells his/her practice, or dies, patients should be notified (usually by newspaper advertisement)-but NYS law does not mandate patient notification at this time.
• Patients may request copies sent to another physician for continued care-reasonable charges may apply. [Not recommended that original record be forwarded for legal reasons.]
• Retired/deceased physician: arrangements should be made to have original records retained by another physician, local hospital, or other lawfully permitted agency.
• If practice is sold: ownership of records should be part of sales agreement. Physician purchasing must establish physician/patient relationship prior to accessing records or must obtain patient authorization.
• Area hospital/appropriate medical society should know disposition of the physician records.
Closing a Medical Practice in New Jersey
Establish a procedure by which patients can obtain a copy of his/her patient records or have them transferred to another practitioner. A licensee CANNOT charge a patient for a copy of the records when the records will be sued (should be used) for purposes of continuing treatment or care.
Publish a notice and the established procedure for the obtaining of records in a newspaper of general circulation at least once a month for the first three months after the practice closes and forward a copy to the Board.
Make reasonable efforts to directly notify patients treated within the prior six months letting the patients know about the manner in which the patient can obtain copies of his/her records.
A doctor has to keep a patient’s medical records for seven years. After that, the physician can destroy them. There is no requirement in the law that requires the physician to notify a patient prior to destroying the records. A doctor may wish to contact his/her malpractice carrier to determine if the carrier has a different requirement and in particular, if there are different requirements for pediatric patients.
When TIME RECORD STORGE is appointed legal custodian for the storage and transfer of records for a newly closing medical practice, we offer:
• Free initial consultation
• Patient mail notification
• Packing services
• Indexing of your records
• Refiling of late incoming letters, reports, etc.
• Free barcode labels
• Monthly or lump sum payment options