Creating a Compliant Health Care Record Retention Policy

Virtually every health care provider and health care organization will have to answer some type of audit, inquiry or investigation by the government or a private insurer at some point — and usually more than once. This is why every health care entity must have a compliant health care record retention policy in place and enforce it. Doing so will reduce liability in the event of a civil investigative demand, administrative subpoena, search warrant or civil discovery.

Best Defense: A Compliant Health Care Record Retention Policy

A compliant health care record retention policy is the best way to comply with any eventual demand or request by the government. It should be drafted with potential litigation and government investigations in mind.

It needs to be understood and effectively implemented and maintained by an executive and the IT, claims, operation and other staff.

Your records retention policy should address:

  • ESI and document storage;
  • major laws and regulations, including time frames that apply to that provider or organization; and
  • what a litigation hold or investigation hold and preservation is in clear and understandable terms.

It needs specifically address those items with respect to the stoppage of any auto-delete or routine data or document destruction.

In addition, the policy must state use of personal or employee devices in the workplace.

Finally, your records retention policy should advise all employees and staff of who they can contact with any questions or concerns about the policy.

Know the Plan — and Stick to It

Do not adopt a compliant health care record retention policy that you do not follow.

One of the first things investigators will ask for is your records retention policy. Producing a policy that is not understood or followed by your IT or other staff is worse than having no policy at all.

Keep Your Vendors in Mind and in the Loop

If you are a small or mid-sized health care provider, you probably use third parties to provide claims processing software or clearinghouse services or both, as well as for accounting, inventory and other business functions. Give careful consideration to how the records retention policy is communicated to these vendors and what is in your vendor agreements when you adopt the policy.

In addition, prompt and thorough responsiveness by third-party data vendors should be considered before purchasing or using such software, servicing or data storage.

Let the Experts Help You

The health care compliance lawyers at Chapman Law Group are here to assist you in drafting a compliant record retention policy that is right for your practice. Contact us today for a free consultation on how we can help.

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