You are advised to keep patient records, including those of deceased patients, for a minimum of ten years after the patient's last contact with the licensee. If space permits, indefinitely retain records of all living patients. This is not a Board requirement, but this guideline will help you meet the Oregon Statute of limitations.
Patient Access to Records
With very few exceptions, patients have the right to access their records. Upon written request, you must make a copy of the medical record available to the patient. You should comply with these requests within a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days.
You may charge a patient reasonable costs for providing a copy or summary of the records, but you may not deny the material because of inability to pay or an outstanding bill for services.
Ending Oregon Practice
If you plan to cease the practice of medicine in Oregon, you are required to ensure safe storage and access to patient records. You should:
- Notify patients by letter that your practice will end and give the effective date
- Notify patients of the record location and how to access them
- Notify the Oregon Medical Board of records location and how to access them
- Advise patients that they must seek the services of another health care provider or refer them to another provider
- Advise patients that their records will be forwarded to the provider of their choice upon receipt of a properly signed release form
- Notify the Oregon Medical Board of an updated mailing address
There is no central storage place for medical records. The Board maintains the address provided by licensees. Patients can obtain this information by calling the Board at 971-673-2700.