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Medical Records Collection, Retention, and Access in Tennessee

        As a condition of licensure, practitioners in Tennessee, including physicians,1 osteopathic physicians2, chiropractors,3 dentists,4  and optometrists,5 must maintain patient medical records that contain sufficient information to ensure continuity of care.  These practitioners must maintain records for ten years; psychologists must maintain records for seven years.6

        Tennessee also imposes records requirements on certain facilities and services providers.  Hospitals must keep and maintain patient medical records for ten years.7  Providers of mental health and developmental disability services must maintain records for ten years,8 which must contain the patient’s identifying information, and appropriate consent and authorization forms.9  Personal support services providers must maintain a record containing each patient’s identifying information, a record of services being delivered, and documentation of medical problems.10  Home health agencies must maintain records for five years.11 Pharmacists must maintain a record system and include the patient’s name, address, date of birth, gender and relevant history.12   Additionally, any practitioner, provider or facility that participates in the TennCare program must maintain all records that support a claim submitted for payment for at least four years.13

        Tennessee law protects the right of patients to access their own medical records.  All health care providers14 and hospitals15 must provide patients access to their own medical records upon request.  Providers of mental illness or developmental disability services must give all patients over age sixteen access to their records upon request, unless such access would be medically contraindicated.16  Any person authorized to make health care decisions for a patient has the same rights as the patient to request, receive, examine and copy any health care information maintained by a hospital,17 a nursing home18 or an ambulatory surgical center.19

        Providers may charge a reasonable fee for copying and mailing medical records to those patients who have made such a request; the fees for different types of providers vary, but in all cases, there is a flat rate for the first several pages and a fee for each additional page thereafter.




  • 1. Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0880-02-.15
  • 2. Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1050-02-.18
  • 3. Tenn. Comp. Rules & Regs. 0260-02-.26
  • 4. Tenn. Comp. Rules & Regs. 0460-02-.12
  • 5. Tenn. Comp. Rules & Regs. 1045-02-.14
  • 6. Tenn. Comp. Rules & Regs. 1180-01-.06
  • 7. Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-11-305
  • 8. Tenn. Code Ann. § 33-3-101
  • 9. Tenn. Comp. Rules & Regs. 0940-05-06-.05
  • 10. Tenn. Comp. Rules & Regs. 0940-05-38-.09
  • 11. Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-1-111
  • 12. Tenn. Comp. Rules & Regs. 1140-03-.01
  • 13. Tenn. Code Ann. § 71-5-2602
  • 14. Tenn. Code Ann. § 63-2-101
  • 15. Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-11-304 (2012)
  • 16. Tenn. Code Ann. § 33-3-112 (2012)
  • 17. Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-08-01-.13
  • 18. Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-08-06-.13
  • 19. Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-08-10-.13


Medical Records Collection, Retention, and Access in Tennessee

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