Records Retention

The LSU Health Sciences Center records retention policy allows records to be archived on microfilm with permission obtained to shred the physical copies. Permission may be obtained from the Secretary of State Archives and Records Services Louisiana State Law-LSA-R.S. 44:411

The Records Retention Schedule outlines how long records in specific categories must be kept, and the Records Retention Key outlines which records category individual documents belong to.

Before destruction of any physical records which may be destroyed, permission must be obtained from the Louisiana Secretary of State by completing and submitting form SS ARC 930.

Office of Compliance Programs Document Retention Policy and Procedures

LSUHSC-NO must comply with state and federal records retention requirements in order to provide appropriate access to state information to the public and to limit the potential liability of the University in a legal proceeding.


Louisiana's Public Records Act (LA R.S. 44.1 eq seq.) requires that "...a statewide system of managing and preserving government records which will meet informational requirements and serve the rights and interest of government and its citizens..." be developed. This system is administered through the Louisiana Division of Archives, Records Management and History located in the Secretary of State's Office.

The Division of Archives, Records Management and History is required to establish standards and guidelines to ensure the state's official records are created and maintained efficient, economically, and in a manner that guarantees their public accessibility. Additionally, the law requires that each state agency designate a Records Officer to work with the Division of Archives, Records Management and History regarding that agency's records management needs.

LSUHSC-NO's Records Officer is designated by the Chancellor annually.

What is Considered a Record?

Louisiana Revised Statues 44:402 defines a Record as "all:

  • documents,
  • papers,
  • letters,
  • books,
  • drawings,
  • maps,
  • plats,
  • photographs,
  • magnetic or optical media,
  • microfilm,
  • microphotograph,
  • motion picture film, or
  • other document or any other material

regardless of physical form or characteristic, generated or received under law or in connection with the transaction of official business, or preserved by an agency or political subdivision because of other information or legal value."

What is NOT Considered a "Record"?

The term "record" shall not be construed to include:

  • library and museum material developed or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes,
  • extra copies maintained for convenience in reference, or
  • stocks of standard publications, or processed documents

Content of the Record

The content, or what the record is about, controls the length of time that the records must be maintained. For example, emails regarding patient care should be maintained for the same retention period as the retention period of paper patient care records.

Scope of LSUHSC-NO's Retention Policy

The policy applies to all records (written, electronic or any other form) maintained by the LSUHSC-NO campus, including but not limited to:

  • Educational Records
  • Clinical Records and Patient Communications
  • Human Resource Records
  • Research Records
  • Public Records

Appendix A of the LSUHSC-NO Records Retention Policy contains the definitions of the above categories of records.

LSUHSC-NO's Records Retention Policy and Schedule

In order to comply with the legal retention requirements, the University has created the LSUHSC-NO Records Retention and Disposition Policy and Records Retention Schedule. Both the policy and retention schedule can be found on the Office of Compliance Programs (OCP) website.

Record Series

The Retention Schedule organizes the University's records into Record Series based on the content of the record of the records and the amount of time the records should be retained.

Retention Period

The Retention Period is the amount of time that a record in a record series must be retained prior to its destruction. This is usually expressed in terms of number of years after the record is actively referenced.

Destruction of Records

Once the Retention Period for a set of records has expired, LSUHSC-NO may request permission from Division of Archives, Records Management and History to destroy the records. The process for obtaining permission to destroy records is as follows:

Step 1: Identification of Retention Period of the Records to be Destroyed

  • Once the major category of records has been identified, consult the LSUHSC-NO Records Retention Schedule.
  • Under the major category designations, there are subcategories which determine the retention period for those types of records.
  • According to the Louisiana Public Records Act, all records the University maintains must be kept for the current year plus three years. However, longer federal or contractual retention periods may apply.
  • If you are unsure what major category or subcategory to which a particular record set belongs or have any questions throughout the process, please contact LSUHSC-NO's Records Officer
  • In accordance with R.S. 44:41, written approval shall be obtained from the State Archivist (or his designee) prior to the disposing of any records of the agency
  • If records you wish to destroy do not fall under any category on LSUHSC-NO's Document Retention Schedule, contact LSUHSC's Records Officer to initiate the process to add line items of record types prior to destroying the documents

Step 2: Obtain Approval from State Archives

  • Complete Form SS ARC 930. If there is a small number of items to be destroyed you can list them directly on the form. When destroying several different types of records you can attach a spreadsheet of the items for sections #6 and #7 on the form.
  • The form can be found on the Office of Compliance Programs website
  • See examples of completed spreadsheets on the Office of Compliance Programs website
  • Email a scanned copy of the completed form with the attached listing (if necessary) to LSUHSC-NO's Archives.
  • Note: LSUHSC-NO's Records Officer will sign and date the form as the University's Representative.
  • You will be notified by email when written approval for the destruction of the records from State Archives has been received.

Step 3: Disposal of Records-Paper

  • The acceptable methods of destruction will be included on the approved request.
  • Complete the Certificate of Destruction Form SS ARC 933  to document the date of destruction. In the event that a third party shredding company will constitute the destruction date.
  • You must maintain the Certificate of Destruction Form (SS ARC 933) along with the approved request for destruction received back from State Archives (SS ARC 930

Destruction of Records – Electronic

Permission to destroy electronic records must be obtained as described above for paper records. Electronic records that contain Protected or Restricted information (as defined by PM-36) must be disposed of in accordance with PM-36.

Hold Procedures

In certain cases, the destruction of records must be put on "hold" even though the retention period has expired.

Litigation and Audit Holds

  • When there is actual or potential for litigation to arise out of an event, such as termination of employees, sexual harassment, discrimination, whistleblower claims, etc., the Department Records Liaison shall notify the Department Head.
  • The Department Head will confer with Legal Counsel to determine what records need to be designated on hold for litigation or audit purposes.
  • The Records Officer will issue a hold notification, in writing, to the Department Liaison/Business Manager, indicating the effected information/records not to be destroyed
  • The Department Liaison/Business Manager is responsible to notify to department employees that destruction of any documents related to the pending matter shall be postponed until the hold is released.
  • Once the audit or litigation hold is no longer necessary, the Records Officer will notify the Department Liaison/Business Manager that destruction of any documents related to the pending matter shall be postponed until the hold is released.
  • Once the audit or litigation hold is no longer necessary, the Records Officer will notify the Department Liaison/Business Manager that destruction of the records may be requested.

Consequences of Non-compliance with Policy

  • Failure to place a hold on records relevant to the litigation and those records are subsequently destroyed may cause a presumption in the litigation that those records would have been harmful to LSUHSC-NO's position.
  • Failure to comply with the LSUHSC-NO Records Retention policy may place the University at risk of liability for not being able to properly respond to records requests in the following ways:
    • Public Records Requests
    • Audit Investigations, both internal and external
    • Litigation Proceedings

Getting Help

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Compliance Programs by:

LSU GME Knowledge Base

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