WA State Medical Record Retention Law Outdated – Let’s Advocate for Change!

August 30, 2023

This email was authorized and sent by WSHIMA Board of Directors:

UW Medicine would like to partner with WSHIMA Board and their members to advocate for a change to the WA State Medical Record Retention law RCW 70.41.190 (excerpt below). This law was last updated in 1985 when things were very different in healthcare, and it makes destroying older medical records administratively burdensome. The trigger date of ‘date last seen or most recent discharge of the patient’ in the language of the law makes it difficult to manage the destruction of older medical records.

We have a number of old records that we’ve maintained past their legal retention because of how burdensome it is to manage. We’d love to partner with other entities across WA State who are struggling with the same thing. If we rally enough support, we can leverage the WA State Hospital Association to help us get this in front of our legislators.

If you are interested in joining me, please email Sally Beahan at sbeahan@uw.edu and I’ll start a list. Once we have enough interest, we can schedule a call and discuss our recommendation for changes to the language.