If you’re getting ready to close your California medical practice, it’s important to have a clear understanding of medical record retention laws and that you find a professional medical records custodian that you can trust to fulfill records requests after you retire or move on to a different job. Looking for a trusted medical records custodian in California can be a challenging task. You need to ensure top quality, accuracy, and trusted service.

Desert River Solutions is a leading medical records custodian that provides electronic medical records extraction and document scanning services for medical and dental practices, hospitals, and related businesses. Our medical record management process and medical record storage facilities are HIPAA compliant. We are medical record management experts who convert paper records to electronic forms and assist with electronic health record (EHR) extraction at large volumes. turnaround.

Not sure how to handle California medical record retention legal requirements after closing your practice? Read on for more information about laws and hiring a custodian of medical records or contact us to learn more today.

California Medical Records Retention Laws

California Laws for Minors’ Medical Record Retention


Providers of health services that are licensed pursuant to Sections 1205, 1253, 1575 and 1726 have an obligation, if the licensee ceases operation, to preserve records of unemancipated minors at least one year after the minor has reached the age of 18 years, and in any case, not less than seven years.

California Laws for Adults’ Medical Record Retention


Providers of health services that are licensed pursuant to Sections 1205, 1253, 1575 and 1726 have an obligation, if the licensee ceases operation, to preserve records for a minimum of seven years following discharge of the patient.

Other Laws in California Related to Medical Record Retention

Health and Safety Code (HSC) section 1797.98e (b), (for services reimbursed by Emergency Medical Services Fund). HSC section 11191 (when a physician prescribes, dispenses or administers a Schedule II controlled substance). Welfare and Institutions Code section 14124.1 (which relates to Medi-Cal patients). The Knox-Keene Act lists requirements for HMO medical records under Title 28 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 1300.67.8(b). In Workers’ Compensation cases, qualified medical evaluators are required to maintain medical-legal reports under Title 8 CCR section 39.5(a).

California Medical Facility Closure Guidelines

The following provides guidance to physicians regarding the closure of, or departure from, a medical practice office.

It is the Medical Board of California’s position that due care must be exercised when closing or departing from a medical practice. Not only does this ensure a smooth transition from the current physician to the new treating physician, but it also reduces the liability of “patient abandonment.” Therefore, to ensure minimal disruption in continuity of care, the physician terminating the physician-patient relationship should notify patients sufficiently in advance.

Ultimately, it is the patient’s decision from whom to receive medical care. However, it is the responsibility of all physicians and other parties who may be involved in the transition to ensure that:

  • Patients are notified of changes in the medical practice. This is best done by mailing a letter to patients from the physician explaining the change and the final date of practice. The California Medical Association (CMA) recommends, if possible, that letters be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and that a copy of the letter with the return receipt be kept. CMA also recommends placing an advertisement in a local newspaper or posting notice of closure in the reception area for inactive patients.
  • Patients are advised as to where their medical records will be stored including how they may access them. To facilitate the transfer of medical records to the new treating physician, upon written authorization, an authorization form should be included in the letter addressed to the patient notifying him or her of the change.

Assist the patient in obtaining care from another physician. If the physician is moving practices, provide an opportunity for patients to move practices and remain under their care. For information on retirement, the CMA offers a publication that addresses physician retirement issues.

For more information visit the Medical Board of California Website.

California Medical Record Retention Statutes

If you would like to read the laws in California pertaining to medical record retention yourself, visit this link:

Preparing Medical Records for Custodianship in California

Our medical record custodianship experts provide customized quotes based on your specific needs and the number of patient records or charts you have.

We take patient privacy seriously. Our medical record storage and document scanning solutions are all HIPAA-compliant and we use servers specially encrypted for medical record storage. HIPAA was designed to ensure the confidential handling of health records. All medical records scanning must be done in a manner that is compliant with HIPAA and its privacy regulations.

Because your patient’s records are filled with personal health information (PHI), they must remain private and secure at all times. This is not just a moral obligation to your patients, it’s a legal obligation, and it’s important that you partner with a trusted medical records custodian who can ensure the security of your patients’ record throughout the entire custodianship process. 

Medical Record Custodian Process:

  1. All physical patient files are securely shipped to our facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
  2. We scan your medical records and digitize if needed, and extract patient files from your EMR to house them ourselves.
  3. We create a custom records request landing page on our website for your patients.
  4. You give notice to your patients that we will be the custodian of your medical records, using a template we provide.
  5. You give notice to the California state medical board that Desert River Solutions is now your custodian of records.
  6. All health information requests go through us as your medical record custodian and you no longer have to do anything!
  7. Patients will be able to sign a request form, send it back securely, and receive any requested medical records in a prompt manner.

Learn More About Desert River Solutions Medical Records Custodian Services for California Medical Practices

When a healthcare facility or doctor’s office closes, hiring a custodian of medical records company to manage patient records makes it easier for doctors and staff to go on to their next adventure. In California, medical records must be retained for a minimum of 6 years. Desert River Solutions makes it easy for you to ensure your patients have access to their medical records for the legally required amount of time.

Contact us today to get a no-obligation quote on medical record custodian services for your California medical practice.

Legal Disclaimer: the information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.