Policy or Procedure on Abandoned Health Records

  • 04 Oct 2017 3:05 PM
    Message # 5295390

    As the State Medical Board of Washington, we get frequent calls from non-clinician parties who discover they are in possession of health or medical records. These are typically scenarios where a property owner or relative has possession of paper records and is unsure about the laws governing their disposal or maintenance. 

    We have an existing guideline for clinicians who are closing a practice or retiring that clarifies amounts of time they must maintain the records and how to notify patients to get their records. However, in an age where more practitioners are employed by large institutions and smaller practices like pain clinics can geographically migrate we are finding holes exist in our guidance.

    Does any organization have additional guidance on this? Specifically, I am looking for information that addresses non-clinician responsibility, if your organizations get directly involved in management or disposition of the records, and if there is a jurisdiction-wide scenario for responding to these sorts of notifications.

    Thanks for any responses,

    Micah Matthews

    Washington State Medical Commission

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