Risk Management Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I keep medical records?

Ideally, medical records would be kept indefinitely. However, if a practice utilizes paper medical records, storage may become an issue. It is important for each practice to establish and consistently implement medical record retention policies and procedures.

Medical record retention policies and procedures should include guidelines that specify what information should be kept, the time period for which it should be kept and the storage medium (paper, microfilm, etc.). Applicable federal health record retention requirements, state laws or regulations pertaining to retention of health information and accreditation agency retention standards, if applicable, should be followed. It is recommended that a local attorney, familiar with such matters, be consulted when developing medical record retention policies.

Unless longer periods of time are required by state or federal law, records of adult patients should be retained for a minimum of ten years after the most recent encounter, and records of minor patients should be retained to the age of majority plus the state statute of limitations or ten years after the most recent encounter, whichever is longest.


Get More AnswersRM FAQs

The information in this guide covers the most common calls received by risk management. For more answers to your most asked Risk Management questions, click here to download the Risk Management Frequently Asked Questions booklet.

Legal Notice and Disclaimer
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information contained in these resources does not establish a standard of care, nor does it constitute legal advice. The information is for general informational purposes only and is written from a risk management perspective to aid in reducing professional liability exposure. Please review these documents for applicability to your specific practice. You are encouraged to consult with your personal attorney for legal advice, as specific legal requirements may vary from state to state.