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      RS 40:2144     


§2144. Hospital Records and Retention Act

            A. As used in this Section:

            (1) " Healthcare provider" means a hospital, as defined in this Subsection, and means a person, corporation, facility, or institution licensed by the state to provide health care or professional services as a physician, hospital, ambulatory surgical center, dentist, registered or licensed practical nurse, pharmacist, optometrist, podiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or psychologist, or an officer, employee, or agent thereof acting in the course and scope of his employment.

            (2) "Hospital" means any hospital as defined in R.S. 40:2102 and ambulatory surgical center as defined in R.S. 40:2133.

            (3) "Hospital record" or "hospital chart" means a compilation of the reports of the various clinical departments within a hospital, as well as reports from healthcare providers, as are customarily catalogued and maintained by the hospital medical records department. Hospital records include reports of procedures such as X-rays and electrocardiograms, but they do not include the image or graphic matter produced by such procedures.

            (4)"Patient" means a natural person who receives health care from a licensed healthcare provider.

            (5) "Representative" means the parent of a minor patient, tutor, curator, trustee, attorney, succession representative, or other legal agent of the patient.

            B. Hospital records are subject to reasonable access to the information contained therein by the patient or his authorized representative as hereinafter provided.

            C. The patient or his authorized representatives may request and obtain copies of his hospital records in the manner set forth in Subsection D of this Section.

            D. Upon request in writing signed and dated by the person initiating the request, the hospital shall, except for good cause shown, such as medical contraindication, furnish the records as soon as practicable and upon payment of the reasonable cost of so providing. Any hospital, its employees, officers, or agents acting in good faith, shall be justified in relying on the reasonable representations of any person making a request. Such hospital, employees, officers, or agents, except for their own negligence, shall not be held liable in damages by reason of their compliance with such request or their inability to fulfill the request.

            E.(1) A hospital record or hospital chart may be kept in any written, photographic, microfilm, or other similar method or may be kept by any magnetic, electronic, optical, or similar form of data compilation which is approved for such use in a rule promulgated by the Louisiana Department of Health. No magnetic, electronic, optical, or similar method shall be approved unless it provides reasonable safeguards against erasure or alteration.

            (2) A hospital may, at its discretion, cause any hospital record or part thereof to be microfilmed, or otherwise reproduced, in order to accomplish efficient storage and preservation of hospital records.

            F.(1) Hospital records shall be retained by hospitals in their original, microfilmed, or similarly reproduced form for a minimum period of ten years from the date a patient is discharged.

            (2) Graphic matter, images, X-ray films and like matter that were necessary to produce a diagnostic or therapeutic report shall be retained, preserved, and properly stored by hospitals in their original, microfilmed, or similarly reproduced form for a minimum period of three years from the date a patient is discharged. Such graphic matter, images, X-ray film, and like matter shall be retained for longer periods when requested in writing by any one of the following persons:

            (a) An attending or consultant physician of the patient.

            (b) The patient or someone acting legally in his behalf.

            (c) Legal counsel for a party having an interest affected by the patient's medical records.

            G. A certified copy of the hospital record or graphic matter, images, X-ray film, and like matter shall be deemed to be an original for all purposes, and shall be admissible in evidence in all courts or administrative agencies as if it were the original.

            H.(1) Subject to such guidelines and limitations as may be promulgated by the Louisiana Department of Health, electronic signatures by licensed healthcare providers on medical records are hereby authorized.

            (2) The Louisiana Department of Health may promulgate rules to regulate the use of electronic signatures. Such rules may contain any of the following:

            (a) Limitation on which documents may be signed electronically, but any such limitation shall not prohibit the use of such signatures on discharge summaries and attestations.

            (b) Security requirements, which may include the following:

            (i) The use of alphanumeric or similar codes, fingerprints, or other identifying methods.

            (ii) Prohibition against disclosure of codes or other identifiers to other persons.

            (iii) Healthcare provider responsibility for unauthorized signatures.

            (3) The Louisiana Department of Health may promulgate rules to regulate the use of orders for the care and treatment of a patient of a hospital which are given to the hospital verbally or transmitted to the hospital electronically, whether by telephone, facsimile transmission, or otherwise. Such rules may include when and under what circumstances the ordering healthcare provider must sign or countersign the verbal or electronically transmitted order. Any such promulgated rules and regulations shall grant a healthcare provider up to ten days following the date an order is transmitted verbally or electronically to provide the signature or countersignature for such order.

            (4) No rule promulgated by the Louisiana Department of Health pursuant to this Subsection shall contradict or be in conflict with the rules or guidelines on the subject promulgated by the Health Care Financing Administration of the United States or of the standards published by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

            Added by Acts 1982, No. 660, §1; Acts 1992, No. 781, §1; Acts 1992, No. 1109, §1; Acts 1997, No. 629, §1; Acts 2001, No. 306, §1; Acts 2018, No. 206, §4.

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