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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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This is a medico-legal question. I closed my private practice

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This is a medico-legal question. I closed my private practice after 12 years. The practice overhead and staff was shared with one or two physicians who were not in formal partnership. I closed the practice 4 years ago, moved and am now semiretired. The medical records were left in common storage. After my departure some of my patients were seen by the remaining physicians, some found other physicians. Now the entire practice will be closed and I was notified to take care of the records of my patients. There is no written agreement on this issue. Am I obliged to take care of these records or not?
Thank you very much, Ziga Tretjak
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

If you were a private practitioner and left the records in the office but had no formal medical corporate partnership, then yes, you are responsible for your medical records care and retention. You need to send letters (at least a postcard) to all patients informing them of their records being available and how to get them. Also, depending on the type of record they have to be retained securely for 7-10 years from date of last visit, so you are going to need to find some secure storage place for the records based on the HIPAA rules for medical record security until the patients claim their records or that time expires.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I appreciate your answer, additional info is that I left the practice 3.6 years ago and at that time had public announcement of closure and mailed letters to active patients as well as those who inquired for a visit. Does that change the rules of engagement?

Thank you for your response.

The notice then would not be required again, but you have to maintain them still to complete the full 10 years of retention (I say 10 years because it is 7-10 depending on the record so to be on the safe side we tell our doctor customers to keep them the 10 years to avoid having to sort through the records to determine which are 7 and which are 10 year records). So you have to keep them only approximately 6.4 more years.
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