CHA News Article

New Law Requires Hospitals to Retain Medi-Cal Records for 10 Years

A new state law, effective Jan. 1, 2018, requires hospitals and other providers of health care services rendered under Medi-Cal or any other California Department of Health Care Services health care program to keep records for at least 10 years. Specifically, Assembly Bill 1688 (Chapter 511, Statutes of 2017) requires providers to keep a record of each service rendered, the beneficiary or person to whom rendered, the date of service and any additional information that the Department of Health Care Services may require. These records must be maintained for 10 years from the final date of the contract period between the plan and the provider (for Medi-Cal managed care enrollees), from the completion date of any audit or from the date the service was rendered, whichever is later.

The new law effectively changes the length of time a provider must keep medical records of Medi-Cal patients. Currently, state law requires medical records of adults or emancipated minors to be retained for seven years; and for unemancipated minors, until the minor reaches age 19, but no fewer than seven years.

The new, longer retention period is consistent with the federal Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program final rule governing managed care organizations and their subcontractors. It is also consistent with previous federal laws requiring providers that contract with a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan to maintain records for a minimum of 10 years from the last contracting period or audit completion, whichever is later. For Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, the retention period applies to books, contracts, medical records, patient care documentation and other records that pertain to any aspect of services performed, reconciliation of benefit liabilities and determination of amounts payable under the contract.

Hospitals should read their contracts with Medicare Advantage and Part D plans to ensure they are complying with the specific contract requirements. Hospitals should also anticipate receiving contract amendments from their contracted Medi-Cal managed care plans addressing the new retention period.

CHA will update its Record & Data Retention Schedule in 2018 to reflect the new requirements. For more information about the Record & Data Retention Schedule, visit