So you're planning to close your healthcare practice. Make sure to avoid the most common records management pitfalls.




When it comes to the Release of Information, there are two areas where people tend to make mistakes as they're closing their healthcare practice. These two areas are maintaining compliance and underestimating the time and resources required to manage this process after closure. 

Compliance with Release of Information

Federal laws require that requests for records are responded to within 30 days, and some states have even shorter timelines. Failure to respond in a timely manner can lead to fines and more intense audits. Laws also require that certain requests and fulfillment activity must be tracked; also known as the Accounting of Disclosures.

Release of Information Timeline

Authorized requests for records are made for years after a healthcare facility closes. The same record can be requested multiple times -- not only by the patients as they visit multiple facilities, but also includes insurance and healthcare audits, subpoenas and lawsuits, workers' compensation and social security -- can all require copies of medical records for years.


Retention and Notification Requirements

Malpractice insurance may require longer retention to guarantee coverage or pending legal actions may require certain records to be held longer.


Furthermore, some states require certification that notification regarding closure and how to obtain medical records has been mailed and/or posted.

Insecure Storage

Ensure Secure Storage of Medical Records

Housing inactive records in a private residence or self-storage facility may not provide the necessary safeguards to limit access per HIPAA guidelines. A medical insurer may also deny coverage if a breach occurs, and investigation reveals the records were improperly secured.

Thoroughly Vet Your Vendor

Vet the Functionality of Your E-Record Solution

While cost is a critical consideration, many healthcare providers focus too heavily on price when selecting a solution, only to discover later that the solution doesn't offer all of the functionality required. For example, some e-record solutions do not support PDF extraction of the records. Others support PDF extraction but charge an incremental -- and often hefty -- conversion fee for each record extracted. In extreme cases, the only way to extract PDFs is to physically sit at a dedicated computer, with a hardware license key, to extract files one-by-one.

Make sure you are fully prepared to close your healthcare practice.

Learn more about all the regulations, requirements and processes involved in closing a healthcare practice.

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The above are best practice recommendations. Please consult with an attorney familiar with the healthcare laws of your state to ensure your record notification, release of information and retention plan complies with all the requirements for closing a healthcare practice.