Provided by: Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
August 11, 2020
I am considering retiring. What should I do with my patient records?
Thank you in advance.
Best case scenario - a colleague purchases the right to become custodian to store the records for you - whether digitally or as paper charts (if that is what you have). You can transfer custodianship by contract. There can be money exchange or not. A notice would be sent to your patients (by you or the receiver, depending on what you each agree to) notifying of the whereabouts and access to the patient records. Failing to properly transition or store your patient's records on closure can open you and your practice (if still existing) to liability from the Office for Civil Rights - the Federal government agency charged with policing HIPAA compliance.
If you do not wish to engage in negotiating the transfer of custodianship of records, you will have a continuing obligation to maintain the records for the statutory period of time; which for most patients is the greater of 6 years past or 1 year past majority age. You may opt to maintain records in digital format only, which if you started with paper originals is acceptable but may be less than preferable if the records are ever audited or sequestered for a potential malpractice case - in either instance the originals are best to have.
Not sure which way to go but looking to do something? Call (516-747-6700 x. 302) or email me