Health Information Technologies and Processes

SNF Records Retention

  • 1.  SNF Records Retention

    Posted 12-10-2020 11:17

    A Texas SNF converted to the EHR. They have inactive records dated back past 2011. Taking into consideration they receive request for records for purposes including legal issues/cases against them and the care provided to patients, how many years of records would you advise that they keep?

    Some of those records belong to patients that have been readmitted  and have part of their records in the EHR. Thanks in advance for your help.

    *Note: I'm only finding information for hospitals.

    Katherine Valeri, RHIT

  • 2.  RE: SNF Records Retention

    Posted 12-10-2020 18:18
    Hello Katherine,

    I don't know about regulations in Texas as I live in WA state, but I can give you the rules we go by here. While there is no legally mandated records retention schedule here, the WA State Medical Association recommends the following:

    a. ten years from the date of a patient's last visit, prescription refill, telephone
    contact, test or other patient contact;
    b. 21 years from the date of a minor patient's birth;
    c. six years from the date of a patient's death; or
    d. indefinitely, if the practitioner has reason to believe:
    i. the patient is incompetent;
    ii. there are any problems with a patient's care, or
    iii. the patient may be involved in litigation.

    My facility also chose to retain records for two years after the last records request.

    These recommendations apply to all healthcare settings, but we found them to work pretty well for us as a SNF. Plus, since they are recommendations, you can tweak them as necessary for your particular facility's needs.

    Jacqueline Mccauley
    Him/Referrals Supervisor

  • 3.  RE: SNF Records Retention

    Posted 12-11-2020 08:51
    Looks like the state of Texas has a 7 year retention requirement.  Based on last date on which service was given or until the patient's 21st birthday, whichever occurs later.
    go to:

    Melissa Alley
    Client Records Coordinator

  • 4.  RE: SNF Records Retention

    Posted 12-11-2020 08:54
    Thank you, but the information seems to be for clinics and Doctor's offices...not Nursing Facilities.

    Katherine Valeri, RHIT

  • 5.  RE: SNF Records Retention

    Posted 12-11-2020 09:41
    Hi there!
    There are a couple issues you are addressing: First, record retention time-frames.  It is recommended that records be kept for 10 years after discharge as the statute of limitations for fraud/abuse is 10 years.  Second, when a resident is re-admitted all old charts should be brought forward and kept with the most recent admission.  Retention time-frames reset to the most recent admission/discharge dates.  So for example, a resident was in the facility 8/2018-9/2018 and 2/2019-3/2019 and 6/2020-8/2020, all records must be kept for 10 years after 2020.
    I hope this helps!

    Warm Regards,


    Tracey Jenkins
    Health Information Consultant

  • 6.  RE: SNF Records Retention

    Posted 12-11-2020 09:43
    Hi Tracey,

    Thank you.

    Katherine Valeri, RHIT