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Medical Records Maintenance

All programs should have a protocol for medical record storage and maintenance. It is important to remember that the medical record belongs to the agency or health care provider who created the record. The program should always maintain the original copy of any written documentation. Independent contractors may arrange with the hospitals where they provide care to store and maintain the records. Some programs are starting to use electronic health records (EHR) for their sexual assault medical forensic records. It is important to limit who has access to the electronic record to preserve patient privacy. EHRs should be HIPAA and HITECH compliant. 

While most medical records are required to be kept for only 5 years, a SANE program should not destroy any medical records because the statute of limitations for prosecution can be indefinite depending on the laws of your state or tribal jurisdiction. 

For more information, please refer to the National Protocol - Evidence Storage.