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Hospital Records and Retention Act, La. Stat. Ann. § 40:2144

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Hospital Records and Retention Act

Hospital records may be accessed by the patient or patient’s representative in a reasonable manner consistent with this law.  A hospital must provide the records to a patient or patient’s representative upon a written, signed request, as soon as practicable and upon payment of the reasonable cost of providing the record, unless there is a good cause not to provide the record.  A hospital employee can reasonably rely on the representations of the person making the request and may not be held liable for complying unless the person was acting negligently on their own.

A hospital record or chart may be kept in various forms, including written, photographic, or microfilm in a number of data compilation methods as long as it is approved by the Department of Health and Hospitals in order to ensure that the record is safe from alteration.  A hospital may microfilm or reproduce records in order to achieve efficient storage and preservation of medical records.

Hospital records must be retained in their original form for at least 10 years  from the date of the patient’s discharge.  Images, x-rays and other documents necessary to produce a medical or treatment record must be retained, preserved and properly stored by the hospital in their original or reproduced form for at least 3 years from the date of discharge.  Such documents must be retained for longer if a request is made in writing by a patient’s physician, the patient or patient’s legal representative, or legal counsel with an interest in the medical records.  A certified copy of the record or graphic imaged may be deemed to be the original for all purposes and may be admissible in court. 

The Department authorizes electronic signatures by physicians on medical records, and the Department must issue rules on the use of electronic signatures, including limitations, security requirements, identification requirements (alphanumeric codes or fingerprints), the prohibition against disclosing the codes, and health care provider responsibility for unauthorized signatures. 

The Department may also issue rules governing the use of orders for treatment and care of a hospital patient given verbally or electronically.

Related Law: La. Admin. Code tit. 48, pt. I, § 9387


Current as of June 2015