Medical Record FAQs for Consumers


Maryland law requires that medical records be maintained for at least 5 years from the date the record or report was created.
The medical record must be kept until the patient reaches the age of majority (18 in Maryland) plus three (3) years – in other words, until the patient is 21 years old, or for five (5) years after the record or report is made, whichever date is later.
If the practice closes, the records must be maintained by another health care provider, the administrator of your estate, or a designee who has agreed to maintain the records. The new custodian of records must write to the applicable health occupations board (physicians must notify the Board of Physicians) that the records will be maintained in compliance with state law. In pursuing the destruction of the records, the new custodian, after the required five (5) year period has elapsed, must provide the patients with the proper notice for destruction or publish a notice in the daily newspaper with the proposed date of destruction, and location where records can be obtained, for patients desiring to retain their own medical records.

The Board maintains a record of these notifications, but it's limited. You can email Maureen.Sammons@maryland.gov to inquire.

Maryland law (Health General Sec. 4-304) allows physicians to charge patients (or the patient's "personal representative") a fee for copying medical records. The charges may be adjusted annually for inflation. Effective immediately, the fee remains as stated below:

  • A fee for copying not to exceed .76 cents for each page of the medical record, and
  • The actual cost of postage and handling.
  • Preparation fee of $22.88, if the records are sent to another provider. The federal HIPAA regulations do not allow a charge for a preparation fee for records provided directly to the patient.

A provider may not refuse to provide the records because of unpaid fees for medical services.