QUESTION: How long should reports and medical records associated with an independent medical evaluation (IME) be retained?

ANSWER: The retention timeline for medical records, including those from IMEs, depends on the jurisdiction and any corresponding regulations imposed by local, state, or federal authorities; medical boards; and other overseeing bodies. Physicians are generally expected to retain medical records for a specific period, often several years. For example, numerous jurisdictions in the United States mandate the preservation of adult medical records for a minimum of 7 years from the last date of service.

With an IME, most of the documents are the records provided to the evaluator; therefore, another source has this documentation. The product of the IME includes the data obtained (eg, questionnaire, inventories, physical examination worksheets) and the report. Therefore, some physicians may state in their reports that...

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