How Long Are Medical Records Kept?

Request Medical Records How Long Are Medical Records Kept?

How Long Are Medical Records Kept?

Knowing how long medical records are kept is vital to making sure you request copies of yours in a timely way. While federal law gives you the right to request medical records from

  • Hospitals
  • Doctors
  • Healthcare professionals

For any reason, there are limits to how long medical records are kept by these institutions.

If you're hoping to get copies of your medical records before it's too late, you'll want to learn a bit about how the system works in different places. You'll also want to take advantage of DoNotPay's Request Medical Records feature, a product that allows you to request copies of your medical records with just a few quick and easy steps!

HIPAA Gives You the Right to Access Your Own Health Information 

Under current HIPAA laws, you have the right to access your own health information at any time.

With limited exceptions, the HIPAA Privacy Rule (the Privacy Rule) provides individuals with a legal, enforceable right to see and receive copies upon request of the information in their medical and other health records maintained by their health care providers and health plans. (Health Information Privacy)

But in order to take advantage of your rights, you'll want to be aware of how long medical records are available to ensure you request yours before it's too late. Our Request Medical Records product can help you do it fast!

How Long Medical Records Are Kept

Giving a straight answer about how long medical records are kept is difficult. The short answer? It's complicated.

Medical Records in General

In general, medical records are kept anywhere between five and ten years.

There are lots of variables that come into play, however, including the following:

The type of practitionerDoctors usually keep records for a shorter time than hospitals.
Specifics about the age of the patientRecords for minors are kept longer than for adults.
The state in which the practitioner is locatedEach state has its own laws regulating medical records.

When in doubt, be sure to request your medical records as soon as possible. You can do so quickly with DoNotPay's Request Medical Records product.

How Specific State Regulations Apply

Because the United States operates under Federalism (meaning there are two levels of governance including both the state and the national government), different state laws will apply from place to place. That means patients in Georgia might be under different laws than patients in California.

South Carolina's Code of Laws, for example, mandates that "Physicians shall retain their records for at least ten years for adult patients and at least thirteen years for minors. These minimum recordkeeping periods begin to run from the last date of treatment. After these minimum recordkeeping periods, the records may be destroyed." Knowing the regulations in your particular state will go a long way toward ensuring you request your medical records in a timely way.

Why You Might Need Copies of Your Medical Records

The reason why you are requesting your medical records might vary, and the truth is that you won't be asked why you need your records when you request them. Because the law states that your medical records belong to you, it is your right to access them with no questions asked.

Reasons why people request their medical records can include:

  1. They are preparing to switch providers and want to supply their new providers with background information.
  2. They are getting ready to meet with a specialist who has requested more information.
  3. They are providing documentation for an insurer or employer.
  4. They are keeping detailed records for themselves.
  5. They are constructing a family medical history.

Whatever the reason, DoNotPay can help you get your hands on your medical records simply and quickly.

Request Your Medical Records With DoNotPay

No matter how long your medical records are kept, the simplest way to request yours is with our Request Medical Records product.

How to request medical records using DoNotPay:

DoNotPay has seen these requests before and knows how to write your health care provider a simple, clear, and effective letter that will get your legally-guaranteed health records for you in no time.

  1. Look up medical records on DoNotPay’s website. 
  2. Enter the name of the health care provider you’d like to receive medical records from. 
  3. Answer a few questions about your provider and where you’d like to send the records. 

That's all you have to do. DoNotPay takes care of the rest for you.

DoNotPay Is Here for You

Navigating anything having to do with America's healthcare system can be stressful. Requesting your medical records is no exception. That's why DoNotPay has created a system of products and services to help you get everything you need. 

More help with medical records:

And DoNotPay can help with more than just the question of medical records. We're also here to help with other tricky tasks such as filing complaints, accessing birth certificates, filing in small claims court, and requesting sick leave. Come check out all our easy-to-use products!

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