These questions are the most frequently asked of our staff by both physicians and patients. If there is something you are looking for that is not on this list, please contact Courtney Salmon at

How long should a physician’s office keep financial records?

AMS recommends all financial records be kept for 7 years according to IRS standards.

How long does a physician’s office have to keep medical records?

All records required by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act must be retained a minimum of six years.

As far as patient medical records, ethically the physician is bound to recognize that the interests of the patient are paramount. Medical records are important to the patient not only for medical care but also for employment, insurance, litigation, or other reasons. Therefore, a physician’s ethical duty is to preserve medical records during the time there is a reasonable likelihood of their usefulness to the patient. The statute of limitations on medical malpractice actions is also a factor on how long to keep records, especially in the case of minors.

The Arkansas Medical Society recommends physicians keep records for at least ten years from the date of the last treatment, unless the patient is deceased, is incompetent or is a minor.

How do I get a copy of my medical records from a previous provider?

If you are trying to locate a previous provider and cannot find an address, you can search our Physician Directory or look on the medical board’s website. If the clinic has closed, the medical board (501.296.1802) may be able to provide you with the contact information for the custodian of the records. If it has been 10 years since your last visit with a physician, it is likely your medical records have been destroyed. If you have had a surgical procedure or a hospital stay, those records may be available from the hospital where you were treated.

What are my obligations to my patients if I am going to close my office?

AMS recommends that a physician place an ad in their local newspaper announcing the closure with instructions as to how the patient can obtain copies of their medical records. Also, we advise that a letter is sent to all patients seen within the last year with the same information and possible suggestions for other physicians.

We remind physicians that it is recommended that patient records are maintained in a safe environment for 10 years from the last date of service. AMS members may contact our office for an informative packet with form letters and more detailed steps to closing your practice.

How do I reach the following organizations?

What do I do if my office is having trouble getting an insurance company to pay?

AMS has many contacts with insurance carriers across the state and will assist our members with any issues regarding slow/nonpayment for services. We urge physician’s office staff to contact the AMS office at 800.542.1058.

When should I expect to receive my seminar / event registration confirmation?

The AMS staff sends seminar and event registration confirmations 3-7 days prior to the event. The confirmation will include all the information you need to attend the event or to log in to the webinar. If you need additional information or have not received a confirmation for an upcoming event scheduled within the next few days, please contact our office at or 800.542.1058.

How do I submit an article to the Journal?

Please contact Katie Garcia at

How do I make a complaint against a physician?

The Arkansas Medical Society does not take disciplinary action against physicians. However, our primary goal is the betterment of healthcare in Arkansas for physicians and their patients. When a dispute is brought to our attention, we will help facilitate a resolution when possible. You may email our office at for assistance or contact the Arkansas State Medical Board to file an official complaint.

How do I find a physician who accepts new Medicare patients?

The decision to quit accepting new Medicare patients is not one that any physician makes lightly, but is typically done to sustain the practice and to be able to provide consistent, quality care for the current patients. Unfortunately, there is not a quick and easy way to determine what physicians near you are still taking new Medicare patients, but you can search all Medicare enrolled physicians through the website below and call to find out if they are taking new patients. Physicians currently enrolled in Medicare:

My doctor fired me or is no longer practicing, how do I find a new one?

Please visit our online physician directory 

Does Arkansas have a Centralized Credentialing Service?

Yes. It is CCVS through the Arkansas State Medical Board.  They can be contacted at 501-296-1802. Insurance carriers must use this service when credentialing a physician, this is mandated by state law.