Physicians have a number of responsibilities when it comes to retaining medical records. Various things come into play that affects the amount of time an assisted living facility needs to retain the records. Federal and state laws, association policies, medical boards and the type of record all make the determination as to how long the information should be retained.
One of the most important reasons for assisted living facilities keeping medical records is to provide information on the care of the patient to other health care providers. Another main rational is that medical records that are well documented provide the support for the physician’s defense if a medical malpractice suit were to come into play. Without proper medical records, the physician won’t be able to show that the care provided was appropriate and met the standards of care as required.
It is recommended that the physician holds onto medical records for a minimum of 10 years after the patient’s last visit to their facility for an adult and up to the age of 28 for a minor patient, or 10 years from the time the patient reached the majority age. In California, medical records need to be maintained for at least 25 years from the date of the last visit. Some states allow the records to be stored electronically at assisted living facilities.