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Thread: Retaining superbills, financial documentation, EOB

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Retaining superbills, financial documentation, EOB

    AAPC: Back to School
    How long do medical financial records (superbills, encounter forms, EOB's) have to be retained for in Alabama?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Lubbock, TX


    Many insurers require you to keep them for 7 years. We just got an electronic database for our EOB's, and it's making storage a LOT simpler.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Tuscaloosa, AL


    From MAG Mutual -

    In general, medical records should be maintained for the period of time as may be necessary to treat the patient. Specifically how long records must be kept is determined by the type of the record and certain state or federal legal requirements. The issue of how long medical records should be retained is a difficult issue to answer definitively. Under the Alabama Medical Liability Act, professional liability claims are barred after four (4) years. Thus, from a risk management perspective, physicians should maintain patient records for a minimum of four (4) years and preferably for at least six (6) years. However, depending upon the nature of services provided by the physician, inquiry should regularly be made with the appropriate state and/or federal regulatory authorities. Indeed, this is a constantly changing area in which at least an annual inquiry with applicable state and/or federal regulators is well advised. For example, as to hospital records, the Alabama Department of Health revised its mandate for record retention from twenty-two (22) years to five (5) years. On the other hand, the American Hospital Association currently recommends that hospital records be maintained for a period of ten (10) years. Physicians who provide Medicare treatment should inquire as to the current provisions regarding record retention by Medicare as a part of its Conditions of Participation. Generally, such records must be retained five (5) years. Also, those physicians who treat children should retain records for their patients for at least four (4) and preferably six (6) years after the patient reaches the age of majority. Immunization records must always be retained. Based upon the current guidelines and practices, the chart below provides suggested record retention policies.

    All Hospital Records
    6 years after discharge

    Hospital records of patient with multiple admissions
    6 years after most recent discharge

    Hospital records of minor patient at time of discharge
    Until patient reaches 24 years of age

    General medical office records
    10 years after last visit or discharge

    Medical office records of minors
    10 years after last visit or discharge

    10 years after last visit or discharge and/or as long as the medical record

    Contact accountant regarding retention for tax purposes. Any medical information documented on the superbill should be documented in the record as well. If information documented on the superbill is not included in the medical record, then the superbills would need to be retained as long as the medical record

    Office records for deceased patients
    Minimum of 10 years


    10 years after last visit or discharge

    Medical Records should be kept indefinitely for the following situations:

    When there is a less than desirable outcome;
    When patients are unhappy with results; and
    Anytime a patient threatens or files a lawsuit.

    Jerri, CPC

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