The Health Reporter Is In, Feb. 8, 2019

The Health Reporter Is In, Feb. 8, 2019

Q: What becomes of patient medical records when a hospital is sold? Do they automatically go to the hospital buyer?

A: That's up to the buyer and seller in each transaction.

State law requires that your patient records be maintained for at least 10 years, but when a hospital is sold, the law doesn't specify whether it's the buyer or the seller that assumes responsibility for the records.

For example, OSF HealthCare didn't purchase the patient records when it bought the former Presence Health hospitals in Urbana and Danville a year ago. Carle, on the other hand, purchased hospitals in Hoopeston and Olney with plans to integrate the patient records of those two hospitals into its own electronic medical records system.

OSF did have access to patient records at the former Presence Covenant and Presence United Samaritans medical centers for six months after its Feb. 1, 2018, acquisition of the two hospitals, according to DEB WHITLEY, regional director of health information management for OSF.

Records for care delivered prior to the sale date at those two hospitals — renamed OSF Heart of Mary and OSF Sacred Heart medical centers — can be obtained through Presence Health, which is now part of Chicago-based AMITA Health, Whitley said.

Whitley said OSF declined to take over the patient records from Presence because it doesn't want to store and maintain records that it didn't create.

OSF did, however, upload from Presence the data it needed for a continuity of care document that includes some basic care information medical providers can access about patients who were at the hospital prior to the sale.

This is basically the information needed at each of the two hospitals in Urbana and Danville for patient care, she said. What it's not is a complete patient record that a patient can obtain copies of from either hospital.

"We have everything we need to take care of the patient," Whitley said.

By the way, Whitley also said, OSF maintains its own patient records at the Urbana and Danville hospitals and others in its system for longer than the law requires — 12 years from the date of care.

As for Carle's integration of records from its own hospital purchases of what is now Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center and Carle Richland Memorial Hospital:

"Carle Hoopeston's electronic medical record is fully integrated into the system," Carle spokeswoman JAMIE MULLIN said. "Carle Richland is on track for full electronic medical record integration in the coming year."

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