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Record Retention for Closing Hospitals & Practices

If your practice or hospital is unfortunately needing to close their doors in the near future, it’s time to consider and develop a record retention strategy to handle your organization’s medical data. The following are a few tips and recommendations for securing electronic medical records and other records for long-term storage retention. 

While the full force of COVID-19 is behind us, many United States hospitals and health systems incurred significant financial setbacks during Q2 of 2020. Specialty practices have seen a significant decrease in visits ranging from ophthalmologists being down 79% while cardiologists are down 61%. Smaller hospitals and individual physician offices are also facing the effects of the pandemic as they consolidate and become acquired by larger healthcare systems after the devastating aftermath of COVID-19 on healthcare. In a recent survey, over 53% of hospitals are expected to finish 2022 in negative margins relative to pre-pandemic levels, of those hospitals finishing in the red 10% are expected to close in the coming year. 

Hospitals and Private Practices Should Develop a Legacy Data Management Strategy

If you are among the many hospitals or private practices on the brink of closing your doors, you should consider your plan for an on-going legacy data management strategy. Your strategy should include how you will manage your electronic medical records for long-term storage. Retention of your patients’  protected health information should be considered, as outlined by your state’s medical record retention requirements. Your legacy data management strategy should not be limited to just PHI but also other information including business data.

Considerations for Securely Maintaining Medical and Other Records During Closure

The following is a quick consideration list for securely maintaining medical and other records with the upcoming closure of your hospitals or private practice.

  • Obtain Legal Advice – When it comes time to prepare for an upcoming hospital or private practice closure, it’s important to work with an attorney to ensure that you cover all the legal requirements in reference to maintaining compliance with medical record retention and PHI destruction laws. Working with an attorney will provide you with the most accurate information for your state. 

  • Review your state law – As every state has their own requirements for medical record retention, you’ll want to verify that your hospital or practice is preparing appropriately for those mandates specific to your state law requirements.

  • Review Medical Record Retention Options If you haven’t yet reviewed your Medical Record retention options, transferring your legacy medical records into an archive such as ACERT™, now is the time to begin your exploration. Medical records can be stored in the archive for the duration of your state requirements without ongoing costs like that of your legacy vendors, and include required reporting for auditing as well as PDF medical record reports upon request. Contact Two Point for more information on medical record archiving. 

  • Create a Legacy Data Management Plan – Two Point’s data experts have put together a process to assist hospitals and practices with the archival of their legacy clinical, financial, and other corresponding data to fit their legacy data management plan. View more information about Legacy Data Management Planning.
  • Consult an Authority before Closing the Hospital or Practice Doors — You can view the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) complete checklist for closing a medical practice. Specific to your EMR, here is a quick snapshot of their recommendation. 
    • Arrange for safe storage for both paper and electronic medical records.
    • Notify your state medical board of the storage location.
    • Determine the correct amount of time your medical records should be stored, as defined by your state law.
    • Make sure the storage facility has experience handling confidential patient information and HIPAA agreements.
    • Establish a mailing address or PO Box for medical record requests after closing.
    • Arrange for storage of personnel and other records according to your state law.
    • Organize the disposal or proper storage of clinic documents such as financial records, patient education materials, brochures, etc.


For more information about Legacy Data Solutions For Closing Hospitals and Practices click here.

Two Point will work with you to determine the best archival strategy for your organization. Our ACERT™ archive has assisted hundreds of organizations with maintaining long-term compliance for medical records for over 3 decades. Email us directly at to schedule a free demo and see how our archive can assist your hospital or practice during this difficult time. 

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