Oregon's Data Access & Retention Policy

Highlights include that the identity of individual patients is not recorded and that source documentation is destroyed after one year. 
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1.  E-mail from Margaret Dore to the Oregon Health Authority, 6/25/2011

. . .  I would like to know what is Oregon's document retention policy regarding  DWDA reporting.

For example, if there were a question about a death occurring five years ago, would the original doctor after-death report still be on file with your office?  . . .

2.  E-mail from the Oregon Health Authority to Margaret Dore, 6/27/2011 

. . .  To answer your question, no, we would not have that information on file. Because the DWDA forms and data are not public records, they do not fall under the retention schedule. We (the Public Health Division) compile the data we need for our reports and then destroy all source documentation after one year.

More information can be found in our "Frequently Asked Questions" document, available on our website (http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Documents/faqs.pdf).

The FAQ does contain a question specific to how data are collected, used and maintained by the agency:

Q: Are participating patients reported to the State of Oregon by name?

A: The State does collect the names of patients in order to cross-check death certificates.  However, the law guarantees the confidentiality of all participating patients (as well as physicians) and the Department of Human Services does not release this information to the public or media.  The identity of participating physicians is coded, but the identity of individual patients is not recorded in any manner.  Approximately one year from the publication of the Annual Report, all source documentation is destroyed. . . .

Please let me know if you have further questions. . . .

Alicia Parkman [contact info below]

3.  E-mail from Margaret Dore to the Oregon Health Authority, 6/28/2011

. . .  When does the one year start running?

From the patient's date of death? . . .

4.  E-mail from the Oregon Health Authority to Margaret Dore, 6/29/2011

All source documentation is destroyed approximately one year from publication of the annual report. For instance, the 2010 annual report (summary of the 2010 deaths) was published in January 2011. So all source documentation will be destroyed in January 2012.

Let me know if you have further questions. . . .

Alicia Parkman
Mortality Research Analyst
Center for Health Statistics
Oregon Health Authority