BATON ROUGE – HB 484, authored by Rep. Raymond Crews (R-Bossier), will be considered before the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee tomorrow. HB 484 extends the responsibility of retaining medical records beyond the abortion physician to the outpatient abortion facility owner. This legislation has been brought by Rep. Crews after public records show that Bossier City Medical Suite, shortly after its closure on April 1, 2017, had all patient records from the facility destroyed.
On July 3, 2018, Roneal Martin, owner of the now closed Bossier City Medical Suite, filed a declaration in the United States District Court Eastern District of Texas stating the following: “In May of 2017, approximately a month after the clinic closed, all of Bossier’s business records, patient files, and all other documents were shredded. The only purpose I had in doing so was to make sure that patient confidentiality was protected and to avoid the cost of continued storage.”
Louisiana law requires that physicians retain medical records for a defined period of time. According to RS 40:1061.19, physicians performing abortion shall retain medical records for not less than seven years after the abortion.
Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, said, “Laws are in place in our state to ensure that a patient’s medical records are preserved for a period of time so that the patient has the ability to access their records for other healthcare purposes or in case of legal investigations, such as whether the patient was a minor possibly brought in by a trafficker. In Louisiana, the physician has a responsibility to retain abortion records in Louisiana for up to seven years. In the case of Bossier City Medical Suite, it seems possible that the destruction of those records forfeited the ability of physicians operating at that facility to meet their legal requirement to maintain these patient records.”
Clapper continued, “Moving forward, HB 484 is critical because the outpatient abortion facility must have a responsibility to protect patient records. In many cases the physicians employed at these facilities are contract employees rather than facility owners. The Legislature must act now to protect patient records at outpatient abortion facilities.”