How Long Do Providers Keep Medical Records?

Katie Crino
Katie Crino
September 23, 2022·10 min read

The length of time your clinic or hospital is required to hold onto your medical records is called the medical record retention period. Most states' retention periods vary between 5-10 years after the last visit, and after the mandated length of time, your provider is allowed to dispose of your records.The retention periods imposed by your state are only minimum requirements. Providers have their own retention policy that may be longer than the minimum period established by the state. Therefore, it's always best to consult your provider about their own retention period policy to see how long your records will be kept there.

Number of Years Medical Doctors Are Required to Keep Records



Number of Years Hospitals Are Required to Keep Records



It's also important to get ahead and take the time to request your own records, so you don't find yourself in a situation where your records have been disposed of. You can store these records securely on your own computer, a secure drive, or a secure personal health app like Guava. Guava allows you to directly connect with most providers so you can get your records much faster.

This information is from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC).

Each State's Retention Law

State Medical Doctor Hospital
Alabama Unspecified but should be held until necessary for patient treatment and medical legal purposes. Minimum 5 years
Alaska No requirement Minimum 7 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records should be held until the patient is 21 years old or the 7 year period if that is longer.
Arizona Minimum 6 years after the last services from the provider unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records should be held until the patient is 21 years old or the 6 year period if that is longer. Minimum 6 years after the last services from the provider unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records should be held until the patient is 21 years old or the 6 year period if that is longer.
Arkansas No requirement Minimum 10 years after the last discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records should be held until the patient is 20 years old. The patient index data is kept permanently.
California No requirement Minimum 7 years after the discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records should be held until the patient is 19 years old or the 7 year period if that is longer.
Colorado No requirement Minimum 10 years after the last patient care unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records should be held until the patient is 28 years old.
Connecticut Minimum 7 years from the last treatment or 3 years after the death of the patient. Minimum 10 years after discharge.
Delaware Minimum 7 years from the last record entry. No requirement
District of Columbia Minimum 3 years after the patient’s last visit unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records should be held either for 3 years or until the patient is 21 years old. Minimum 10 years after discharge.
Florida Minimum 5 years from the last visit. Minimum 7 years after the last entry for public hospitals.
Georgia Minimum 10 years from the record creation. Minimum 5 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records should be held until the patient is 23 years old.
Guam No requirement No requirement
Hawaii Minimum 7 years after the last data entry for full medical records. Basic information is kept 25 years after the last data entry unless the patient is a minor, in which case full medical records are kept till the patient is 25 years old and basic information is kept until the patient is 43 years old. Minimum 7 years after the last data entry for full medical records. Basic information is kept 25 years after the last data entry unless the patient is a minor, in which case full medical records are kept till the patient is 25 years old and basic information is kept until the patient is 43 years old.
Idaho No requirement Clinical lab tests and reports are kept a minimum 5 years after the test.
Illinois No requirement Minimum 10 years
Indiana Minimum 7 years Minimum 7 years
Iowa Minimum 7 years after the last service unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 19 years old. No requirement
Kansas Minimum 10 years from the last service. Full records are kept for a minimum 10 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 19 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer. The summary of the records is kept for a 25 year period.
Kentucky No requirement Minimum 5 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 21 years old or the 5 year period if that is longer.
Louisiana Minimum 6 years after the last treatment. Minimum 10 years after discharge.
Maine No requirement Minimum 7 years unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 24 years old. Written x-ray reports and logs are kept indefinitely.
Maryland Minimum 5 years after the record’s creation unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 21 years old or the 5 year period if that is longer. Minimum 5 years after the record’s creation unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 21 years old or the 5 year period if that is longer.
Massachusetts Minimum 7 years from the patient’s last encounter unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 9 years old or the 7 year period if that is longer. Minimum 30 years after discharge or final treatment.
Michigan Minimum 7 years from the last service. Minimum 7 years from the last service.
Minnesota No requirement Most medical records are kept permanently. Miscellaneous documents are kept minimum 7 years unless the patient is a minor, in which case the documents are kept till the patient is 25 years old.
Mississippi No requirement Minimum 10 years after discharge in sound mind and 7 years after discharge at death unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 25 years old.
Missouri Minimum 7 years from the last service. Minimum 10 years unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 23 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer.
Montana No requirement Minimum 10 years after discharge or death for full medical records unless the patient is a minor, in which case full records are kept until the patient is 28 years old or 10 years after death if that is shorter. Core medical records are kept for 10 years longer than full records.
Nebraska No requirement Minimum 10 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor (under 19), in which case records are kept until the patient is 22 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer.
Nevada Minimum 5 years after the creation of the record. Minimum 5 years after the creation of the record.
New Hampshire Minimum 7 years after the last contact with the patient unless records were transferred to a different provider. Minimum 7 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 19 years old or the 7 year period if that is longer.
New Jersey Minimum 7 years from the last record entry Minimum 10 years after the last discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 23 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer. Discharge summary sheets must be kept 20 years after discharge.
New Mexico Minimum 2 years after required rate by insurance laws and Medicare/Medicaid unless the patient is a minor, in which case the records must be kept until the patient is 20 years old. Minimum 10 years after last treatment unless the patient is a minor, in which case records must be kept until the patient is 19 years old.
New York Minimum 6 years unless the patient is a minor, in which case records must be kept until the patient is 19 years old or the 6 year period if that is longer. Minimum 6 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records must be kept until the patient is 21 years old or the 6 year period if that is longer.
North Carolina No requirement Minimum 11 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records must be kept until the patient is 30 years old.
North Dakota No requirement Minimum 10 years after the last treatment unless the patient is a minor, in which case records must be kept until the patient is 21 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer.
Ohio No requirement No requirement
Oklahoma No requirement Minimum 5 years after the patient's last visit unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 21 years old. Records are also kept 3 years after the patient’s death.
Oregon No requirement Minimum 10 years after discharge. The master patient index is kept indefinitely.
Pennsylvania Minimum 7 years after the last service unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 22 years old or the 7 year period if that is longer. Minimum 7 years after the last discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 25 years old.
Puerto Rico No requirement No requirement
Rhode Island Minimum 5 years unless certain laws or regulations say otherwise. Minimum 5 years after the last discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 23 years old.
South Carolina Minimum 10 years after the last treatment unless the patient is a minor, in which case it is 13 years after the last treatment. Minimum 10 years unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 19 years old.
South Dakota When records are inactive or the physician does not know the whereabouts of the patient. Minimum 10 years after the last care or visit unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 20 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer.
Tennessee Minimum 10 years after the last contact with the provider unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 19 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer. Minimum 10 years after the last discharge or death unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 19 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer.
Texas Minimum 7 years from the last treatment unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 21 years old or the 7 year period if that is longer. Minimum 10 years from the last treatment unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 20 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer.
Utah No requirement Minimum 7 years from last treatment unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 22 years old or the 7 year period if that is longer.
Vermont No requirement Minimum 10 years
Virginia Minimum 6 years after the last patient contact unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 18 years old (or is emancipated) or the 6 year period if that is longer. Minimum 5 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 23 years old.
Washington No requirement Minimum 10 years after discharge unless the patient is a minor, in which case records are kept until the patient is 21 years old or the 10 year period if that is longer.
West Virginia No requirement No requirement
Wisconsin Minimum 5 years after the last record entry. Minimum 5 years
Wyoming No requirement No requirement

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