42 CFR § 485.721 - Condition of participation: Clinical records.
The organization maintains clinical records on all patients in accordance with accepted professional standards, and practices. The clinical records are completely and accurately documented, readily accessible, and systematically organized to facilitate retrieving and compiling information.
(a) Standard: Protection of clinical record information. The organization recognizes the confidentiality of clinical record information and provides safeguards against loss, destruction, or unauthorized use. Written procedures govern the use and removal of records and the conditions for release of information. The patient's written consent is required for release of information not authorized by law.
(b) Standard: Content. The clinical record contains sufficient information to identify the patient clearly, to justify the diagnosis(es) and treatment, and to document the results accurately. All clinical records contain the following general categories of data:
(1) Documented evidence of the assessment of the needs of the patient, of an appropriate plan of care, and of the care and services furnished.
(2) Identification data and consent forms.
(3) Medical history.
(4) Report of physical examinations, if any.
(5) Observations and progress notes.
(6) Reports of treatments and clinical findings.
(7) Discharge summary including final diagnosis(es) and prognosis.
(c) Standard: Completion of records and centralization of reports. Current clinical records and those of discharged patients are completed promptly. All clinical information pertaining to a patient is centralized in the patient's clinical record. Each physician signs the entries that he or she makes in the clinical record.
(d) Standard: Retention and preservation. Clinical records are retained for at least:
(1) The period determined by the respective State statute, or the statute of limitations in the State; or
(2) In the absence of a State statute -
(i) Five years after the date of discharge; or
(ii) In the case of a minor, 3 years after the patient becomes of age under State law or 5 years after the date of discharge, whichever is longer.
(e) Standard: Indexes. Clinical records are indexed at least according to name of patient to facilitate acquisition of statistical medical information and retrieval of records for research or administrative action.
(f) Standard: Location and facilities. The organization maintains adequate facilities and equipment, conveniently located, to provide efficient processing of clinical records (reviewing, indexing, filing, and prompt retrieval).