Richmond State Hospital receives dozens of requests for copies of medical records from the descendants of past patients. Unlike many other historical records available to the public, RSH medical records are confidential and not subject to the state of Indiana’s Public Records law.
Descendants requesting copies of medical records for genealogy purposes may contact the Health Information Services department at phone number 765-935-9234 or mail a request to Richmond State Hospital Attention: Jay Wenning 498 NW 18th St, Richmond, IN 47374. You will be asked to complete an “Authorization for Release of Information” form, provide a copy of a state issued photo ID, provide proof of a familial relationship and provide a copy of a death certificate if available.
Unfortunately, we do not have the original medical records of every patient treated at Richmond State Hospital. Records keeping laws and practices have changed over the years since the hospital opened in 1890. Today’s retention policies require the hospital to store the complete medical records of patients for 10 years after their discharge. After the required 10 year retention period, a 5 percent sample of records is sent Indiana State Archives and the rest of the medical records are reduced to the summary documents of the hospitalization. The excess medical information is confidentially shredded. The hospital has reduced medical records of patients discharged starting in 1979. The medical records of all patients discharged before 1979 were destroyed, except for a 5 percent sample sent to Indiana State Archives. However, the hospital does have basic admission and discharge information from the register books for patients discharged between 1890 and 1979.