Even after a case has been completed by a Legal Nurse
, there will still be documentation and reports that make up your case file. This is so because of the patchwork of different legal requirements that dictate how case materials must be retained for clients, courts, auditors, and other entities. Failure to retain certain data may result in sanctions against the Legal Nurse.
One area Legal Nurses need to pay close attention to are the data retention polices of the court system. Every federal and state court may have a different data retention policy when it comes to case files. Consequently, all Legal Nurses should seek out and examine each state, county and federal courts data retention policy to make sure they are following the rules. Furthermore, it would be wise for every Legal Nurse to consult with their attorney-client because the attorney should know the rules and provide any guidance to the Legal Nurse.
Legal Nurses must not only follow the courts data retention policy but any applicable state or federal regulation. For example, the HIPAA regulations require any modifications made to any protected health information (PHI) file must be maintained for 7 years. Addionally, Legal Nurses working as business associate's to a covered entity (CE) must either destroy or return the PHI to the CE upon full performance of the business associate's contract.
Data retention is a very confusing and arduous maze. Therefore, the Legal Nurse should always confer with their attorney-client to see what case information can be discarded and what case information should be saved.