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What is a custodian of records?

A custodian of records bares the responsibility of safeguarding records for the duration they are required to be protected, according to law. This may apply to paper files or Electronic Health Records (EHR). Different types of files vary in the length of time they must be preserved to meet legal requirements imposed by the federal or state governments.

In the case of medical records, aside from maintaining the integrity of the files, a records custodian must protect the privacy of the individual according to HIPAA standards (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA applies federal standards of privacy for the patient, ensuring no medical information is given out without the patient’s consent.

Additionally, paper, or digital records must be protected for periods of time indicated by law to ensure patient access if said patient has not already requested copies prior to the closing of the practice. The custodian will handle requests from the patient, physicians, family, or court as indicated by the patient’s consent.