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Creating Compliant Record Retention Policies

Every healthcare entity must have compliant record retention policies in place and enforce its record retention policies. If your corporation needs assistance drafting record retention policies that will reduce liability in the event of a civil investigative demand, administrative subpoena, search warrant, or civil discovery, Chapman Law Group’s experienced healthcare attorneys can assist.

The best Defense Is a Good Offense

A good records retention policy that is drafted with potential litigation and government investigations in mind, and that is understood and effectively implemented and maintained by an executive, IT, claims, operation, and other staff, is the best way to comply with any eventual demand or request by the government. Virtually every provider and healthcare organization will have to answer some type of audit, inquiry, or investigation by the government or a private insurer at some point, and often more than once.

A records retention policy should address ESI and document storage, identify major laws and regulations, including time frames that apply to that provider or organization, and address what a litigation hold or investigation hold and preservation is in clear and understandable terms. It should specifically address the items listed above with respect to the stoppage of any auto-delete or routine data or document destruction. It should also address the use of personal or employee devices in the workplace. Finally, it should advise all employees and staff of who they can contact with any questions or concerns about the policy.

Be Careful

Do not adopt a records retention policy that you do not follow. One of the first things investigators will ask for is the client’s records retention policy. Producing a policy that is not understood or followed by the client’s IT or other staff is worse than having no policy at all. If the client is a small or mid-sized provider, it probably uses 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 the client’s vendor agreements when it adopts the policy. Prompt and thorough responsiveness by third-party data vendors should be considered before purchasing or using such software, servicing, or data storage.

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