My mother stopped seeing a doctor about a year ago. She has been without a PCP. She just procured a new one and was asked to get her medical records. Her old doctors office told me today that those records will include 2 years worth of documents ( from today ) so essentially i years worth of documents. She was with that doctor for 5 years.

Is it not the law that doctors have to keep records for 7 years? Is it also not the law that they need release those documents? What can I do to pursue this and make sure she is able to get the full breadth of medical history

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    Medical records retention requirements are governed by state law in the US. Where is this doctor?
    – user6726
    Mar 3, 2020 at 16:34
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    In New York, I took a look at the HHS site and it says 6 years, but the doctors assistant says they only provide 2 years worth of documents ... I'm not sure how to escalate this.
    – user379468
    Mar 3, 2020 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


One approach is to direct their attention to this publication from the NY Dept. of Health. It says "Physicians and hospitals are required by state law to maintain patient records for at least six years from the date of the patient's last visit". There is also a PDF printout which you can hand to them. If they still absolutely refuse, the publication explains about the appeals process and the consequence to the doctor, but it also provides some "rationalizations" that the staff-person might invoke (for example "Yes, but we charge for copying, I thought you meant for free" – they can charge up to 75 cents per page). There is no legal basis for their 2-year conclusion.

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