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Allowed to shred records?

August 16, 2016
 
Question:

Dear Jennifer,

Hope you are having a nice summer. Please advise that it is okay to shred the medical charts for adult patients if the patient has not been seen for 6 years or more (as per NY state law).

Thanks for your advice,

Sincerely,

Dr. S


Answer: 

Yes, as per NYS law you may properly, in a HIPAA compliant manner, discard records the later of: (i) 6 years;  or  (ii) 1 year over majority.  Please note certain Medicare plans (federal) require you to keep records for 10 years.  Best course with our electronic requirements, scan all records and maintain electronically as opposed to discarding entirely.  Electronic has the same effect as paper records so there is no need to keep the paper.  

Again, please make sure to discard in a HIPAA compliant manner.  For active patients of your practice, please maintain whole chart (electronic format is acceptable)! 




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