Senate Bill No. 117
(By Senator Wooton)
[Introduced January 24, 1996;
referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend article twenty-nine, chapter sixteen of the code
of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated section
three, relating to the retention and destruction of health
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article twenty-nine, chapter sixteen of the code of
West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended,
be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section
three, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 29. HEALTH CARE RECORDS.
§16-29-3. Retention and destruction of health care records.
(a) The health care records of all persons who are not
minors or under a disability, or both, shall be retained by the
custodian of such records for ten years following the last date
of treatment or contact. The health care records of minors shall be retained for a minimum of two years following the age of
majority or ten years following the last date of treatment or
contact, whichever comes later. The health care records of all
persons who are under a disability shall be retained for a
minimum of two years following the removal of the disability or
ten years following the last date of treatment or contact,
whichever comes later. The health care records of deceased
persons shall be retained for a minimum of seven years following
the date of death.
(b) Health care records may be computerized or minified by
the use of microfilm or any other similar electronic or
photographic process: Provided, That the method used shall
create an unalterable record, after which the original records
may be destroyed.
(c) Diagnostic media filed with the medical record is
subject to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.
Diagnostic media retained separately from the medical record
shall be retained for at least five years, after which they may
be presented to the patient or destroyed: Provided, That
interpretations or separate reports of diagnostic media are
subject to subsection (a) of this section.
(d) If the custodian of any health care records subject to
retention ceases operation, it shall notify the department of
health and human resources in writing of the arrangements it has
made for retention of the health care records. If the department does not approve of the arrangements, it shall notify the
custodian of its disapproval within thirty days of receipt of the
notice and shall assist the custodian in making alternate
arrangements of which the department approves. If the custodian
is succeeded by another person, the burden of compliance with
this section shall rest with the successor.
(e) Health care records may be destroyed after the retention
period set forth in subsection (a) of this section or after
minification, in a manner that will preserve the confidentiality
of the information in the records: Provided, That the custodian
shall retain master patient indices permanently. The health care
records may be destroyed by incineration, shredding or pulping
but may not be buried as a means of destruction and shall be
destroyed only in compliance with state and federal environmental
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit
the retention of health care records beyond the periods described
in this section or to prohibit patient access to health care
records as provided in section one of this article.
(g) Health care records exempt from the retention
requirements of this section are public health mass screening
records; pupils' health records and related school health
records; preschool screening program records; communicable
disease reports; mass testing epidemiological projects and
studies records, including consents; topical fluoride application consents; psychological test booklets; laboratory profiles,
hospital nutritionists' special diet orders and similar records
retained separately from the medical record but duplicated within
it; public health nurses' case records that do not contain any
physician's direct notations; social workers' case records; and
diagnostic or evaluative studies for the department of education
of other state agencies.
(h) The following terms have the following definitions as
used in this section:
(1) "Custodian" means any health care provider that
maintains health care records in connection with its operations.
(2) "Diagnostic media" includes laboratory slides, paraffin
blocks, X ray films, electroencephalogram tracings, video tapes,
fetal strips, photographs and photographic images, the results of
which are entered into the medical record by means of written
(3) "Health care records," when used with respect to
inpatient hospitalization, means the recorded documentation
regarding the hospitalization, including, but not limited to,
those medical histories, reports, summaries, diagnoses,
prognoses, records of treatments and medication ordered and
given, notes, entries, radiology reports and other written or
graphic data prepared, kept, made or maintained by hospitals that
pertain to hospital confinements or hospital services for which
a physician order is written.
(4) "Master patient indices" means, with respect to a
physician or other noninstitutional health care provider, basic
information including the patient's name and birthdate, a list of
dated diagnoses and intrusive treatments and a record of all
drugs prescribed or given, and, with respect to a hospital or
other institutional health care provider, basic information
including the patient's name and birthdate, dates of admission
and discharge, names of attending physicians, final diagnosis,
major procedures performed, operative reports, pathology reports
and discharge summaries.
(5) "Minor" means a person under the age of eighteen.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide timeframes (10
years following the last date of treatment or contract for
adults) for retention of medical and other health care records,
including diagnostic media, and methods for destruction of the
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.