Retention of Records

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    • #30231

      I know that we had a forum question on the old site but can not find it on here. To review, My understanding is that APA suggests keeping records 7 years or in case of minor 3 years past age 19th birthday. Nebraska legislature says 10 years for inpatient or outpatient “medical records” and for minors 10 years after or the age of 21 which ever is longer. Soooo…what does everyone do? Which one applies? I cant find anything specific to Nebraska on mental health records

    • #30232
      Terry MooreTerry Moore

      Back in 1986, when I started in private practice, everybody kept counseling files for 7 years. I don’t think anybody knew where the number came from. Nonetheless, it felt like a community standard for a long time.

      Since I’m on the lmhp board I happen to know that there is a draft set of regulations winding slowly through the department of Health that may eventually get a public hearing and might eventually be accepted as an approved update to the standards that we operate under now. The current regulations for licensed mental health practitioners does not include any mention of the length of time one should retain records at all.

      The draft regulation suggest keeping records for 5 years after the completion of services. It does not make a distinction between adults and children. I think it likely that these regulations will make it through the regulatory approval process so you might conside it as a benchmark.

      I recall that the draft regulations also ask that the professional make a record of destroyed records, and that that information about what records were destroyed be retained for another 10 years.

      But wait, there’s more. Licensed clinical social workers who are Medicare providers apparently are advised to retain records for a minimum of six years. I recall finding that tidbit buried somewhere on the center for Medicare services website a couple of years ago when I was doing some research on the topic.

      But wait, there’s even more. I understand that there is a set of draft regulations for Medicaid providers now similarly winding its way through the regulatory process. I seem to recall record retention numbers in those regulations as asking Medicaid providers to retain records for 7 years.

      So, one might easily say that if you see a mix of cases overtime that might include Medicaid policy holders, seven years might be the number to shoot for. But at this point it’s all unofficial.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Terry MooreTerry Moore. Reason: fix typos from voice recognition on phone
    • #30234

      Thank you Terry, I appreciate the feedback. I just didnt really want to do 10 lol. I can do 7 and that is what I have been doing but someone said 10 and then when looking I see that about hospitals. I agree there are some insurances that are different. I was reading in the Tricare contract that it says 10. Ugh. But that is a great idea of a record of destroyed records. Now, I would have many years gone by that I do not have this for but it is something to start now for sure. Thanks for your help!!! (and the chuckle….wait theres more! I needed that today!)

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