Under Virginia law, practitioners are required to maintain patient records for a minimum of six (6) years following the last time the physician encounters the patient. 18VAC85-20-26. There are, however, some exceptions to the six year retention requirement. In the case of a patient who is a minor, the physician is expected to maintain records, including records regarding immunizations, until the child reaches the age of 18 or becomes emancipated, or for six (6) years from the last patient encounter, whichever is later. 18VAC85-20-26(D)(1). Physicians do not have to retain patient records that have previously been transferred to another practitioner or healthcare provider or provided to a patient or his personal representative for six (6) years, but it is usually safest to maintain the original record even if the patient transfers to another provider. 18VAC85-20-26(D)(2). Physicians may be required by contractual obligation or federal law to maintain records for longer than six (6) years. 18VAC85-20-26(D)(3).