How to Request Your Medical Records

Posted By Chris Dimick on March 1, 2012

Updated by Mary Butler on March 1, 2017**

 

**Editor’s Note: This post was updated on March 1, 2017 to reflect changes in laws and regulations that have taken place since this content was originally posted.

 

If you’ve never requested your medical records from your doctor or hospital before, the process can seem complicated. However, understanding the law and the basic requirements will ease the process.

The Record Request Process

The basic process for requesting a medical record is similar across states and provider types. Whether requesting your personal medical records from a doctor’s office or a hospital, in Hawaii or Ohio, the federal law known as HIPAA applies. HIPAA entitles every person the right to access his or her medical records, receive copies of them, and request amendments to them.

State laws, however, can add variations to the exact process for requesting records and how much facilities can charge for fulfilling them.

In addition, individual doctors’ offices and hospitals may have their own policies. These cannot contradict federal and state law, but they can add variation in the request process between facilities.

The laws and policies can add complexity, but their end goal is the same—to ensure a person’s sensitive health information remains private, while keeping the bar low for patients to access their information.

Janet Mohlenhoff, MPA, RHIA, CCS, is the manager of health information services at Richmond University Medical Center based in Staten Island, NY. Her department is in charge of fulfilling records request.

“We are not trying to be a stumbling block,” she says.”[We’re] trying to best protect the information, because this is highly confidential information and we have to be very careful about releasing it correctly.”

“You wouldn’t want this information in the wrong hands,” she says.

To ensure information is released according to the owner’s wishes, facilities are required to verify the identity of the requestor and confirm that he or she is authorized to access or transfer the records.

Complete a Patient Access Request/Authorization Form

To request your records, start by contacting or visiting your provider’s health information management (HIM) department—sometimes called the medical records or health information services department. Smaller doctor’s offices may not have an HIM department, so ask to speak to the administrative staff in charge of releasing patient records.

The first step will be completing an “Patient Access Request (or similarly titled)” form.

A growing number of healthcare facilities offer their Patient Access Request forms online so they can be completed ahead of time. Some facilities allow patients to mail or e-mail the form if requesting certain record services, such as transferring records to another provider or payer covered by HIPAA.

If you are having the records sent to another person, you will need to provide their name and contact information For example, a patient requesting that his or her medical records from a recent hospital stay be sent to a new physician would have to provide the physician’s full name, address, and fax number or secure e-mail address.

A completed and signed authorization form may be mandatory for all record releases, dependent upon the providers policies. An incomplete or unsigned request will not be fulfilled.

Personal representatives of patients are empowered by HIPAA to be able to complete patient access requests in the place of a patient. These personal representatives are specifically defined to be the parties that make healthcare decisions for a patient under state law. If a person has been given medical power of attorney for an individual, they have the right to request access to another person’s medical records. The person asking for access on another person’s behalf may be required to fill out a request form or make the request in writing.

Select Your Records

The access request form also will ask what specific information you would like to have copied.

Knowing exactly what records you want or need can be difficult. Patients who are unsure can ask an HIM professional to help them narrow down their requests, according to Jennifer Miller, MHIS, RHIA, director of HIM and compliance officer at Loma Linda University Healthcare, based in Loma Linda, CA.*

A medical record can often be hundreds of pages long, so being selective is important. If you don’t know the records you want, knowing what you want them for can help an HIM professional guide you to the proper documents.

In the case of especially sensitive records, such as behavioral health, substance abuse and HIV/STD records, state law may require additional authorization form. For example, in New York, an additional an authorization/patient request form has to explicitly state that the patient wants the facility to release records containing information on an HIV diagnosis or treatment. Most patient access request forms have a section that addresses this type of request, and it must be filled out by the patient or their proxy if those records are requested.

Patients have the ability to request the format in which they would like to receive their records. For facilities using an electronic health record system, the medical record may be available on CD, DVD, USB flash drive, or sent via secure e-mail.

Additionally, larger facilities are increasingly creating web-based portals that allow patients direct access to their information.

It is important to note that patients have the right to a copy of their record, not the original. The original record belongs to the healthcare facility. It is a document they must maintain for legal and business purposes.

Bring a Photo ID

If requesting records in person, you will be required to show a valid government-issued photo ID at either the time of their request or when picking up the record.

If you are picking up another person’s records, you will require additional legal documents and information to demonstrate your right to access records on another’s behalf, Miller says. Be certain to ask about these requirements in advance.

How Long Will It Take?

Fulfilling record requests can take time, so plan ahead and don’t expect to receive your records the day you request them.

In fact, HIPAA allows providers 30 days to complete a record request. It also allows a single 30-day extension, but the facility must explain to the requestor the cause of the delay.

Most facilities, however, do not require that much time—many can fulfill a request in five to 10 days. Individual state laws may also dictate how quickly a facility must fulfill a request.

Fulfilling requests takes time because facilities receive many of them and processing them requires individual review. Large hospitals can get thousands of record requests a month from patients, providers, insurers, attorneys, law enforcement, and other entities, explains Anne Tegen, MHA, HRM, the director of HIM at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, based in Minneapolis, MN.

Once received, each of these requests requires personal attention. Processing a record request is much more difficult than pressing print on a computer screen or walking a chart to the copy machine, says Colleen Goethals, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA, a release of information and HIM consultant with Midwest Medical Records Association, based in Schaumburg, IL.*

For each request, staff  must validate a requestor’s patient access request signature with a signature in the medical record; locate records; select the requested documents; review the record to ensure the authorization is valid for the release all requested information (such as HIV testing, substance abuse treatment, or behavioral health records); and then prepare and send the request.

Is There a Fee?

Facilities have the right to charge fees to offset the labor involved in copying the records. However, a provider cannot deny you a copy of your records because you have not paid for the treatment services you received.

HIPAA has set the amount organizations can charge for patient record access fees. State law dictates how much organizations can charge for third party authorizations, such as to attorneys, or other access not requested directly by the patient or their proxy.

Some facilities provide record copies to patients for continued care for free, while others may charge a HIPAA based fee for patient access request records—and none of these fees can be more than the maximum allowed by law. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) guidance, for any request from an individual, a provider may calculate the allowable fees for providing individuals with copies of their PHI by calculating actual allowable costs to fulfill each request; or by using a schedule of costs based on average allowable labor costs to fulfill standard requests. Alternatively, in the case of requests for an electronic copy of PHI maintained electronically, an organization can charge a flat fee not to exceed $6.50 (inclusive of all labor, supplies, and postage). Charging a flat fee not to exceed $6.50 per request is therefore an option available to entities that do not want to go through the process of calculating actual or average allowable costs for requests for electronic copies of PHI maintained electronically.

Oftentimes facilities will waive the fee if the information is being sent to another provider for use in continued care. However, the same facility may charge a fee if the patient requests a personal copy of the record.

Still other facilities do not charge for copies at all, or only charge for requests that exceed a set page limit, according Goethals. She advises requesting information on fees before submitting a patient access to records request.

That said, the federal government is encouraging providers to give patients copies of their own electronic health information free of charge, according to recent guidance. The guidance has the following recommendations on when and how patients should be charged for electronic copies:

  • Patients should not be charged a fee for patient portal access through certified electronic health records (EHRs).
  • There cannot not be “per page” fees for electronic copies.
  • There cannot not be “surprise” fees; providers must inform an individual in advance of the approximate fee that may be charged.

When the records are ready, HIM departments will either transfer the record to the requested healthcare provider through e-mail, fax, or mail, or they will alert the requestor that the physical copies are ready for pickup.

The Value of Requesting Your Records

There are many good reasons to request a copy of your medical records. Physicians don’t always share complete patient information or exchange a patient’s health records, so if a patient is seeing a new provider it is beneficial to ensure a copy of their record is sent to the new physician, Tegen says. Also, it is beneficial for patients or caregivers dealing with multiple doctors and facilities to have all medical records in one place, which can then be used by providers to ensure thorough care.

Reviewing your record is an important way to ensure your provider has complete, correct, and up-to-date information, such as your known allergies. If you find information in your record that is incorrect or that you disagree with, contact the provider’s HIM department.

Finally, it can be good for your health to keep a copy of your medical records, Goethals says. She advises people to be an advocate for their own healthcare by tracking their preventative care and treatment. Keeping, or having accessible on-line an up-to-date copy of your health information will prevent redundant care, like repeat tests, and give all your physicians essential information about your health.

“Even when patients are well, it is nice to know their immunization history, allergies, and have certain other pieces of information,” Miller says. “So by viewing or accessing copies of their records, they are able to be better informed on their healthcare.”

Special Cases: Requesting Someone Else’s Records

Requesting another person’s records is a different process from requesting your own, and it has its own requirements.

Facilities will not release a patient’s records to someone else without a direct authorization to disclose records to a third party form signed by the patient. This form is different than the form used by patient’s to request their own records. If the patient is incapacitated or deemed incompetent, legal documents must be drawn up and presented at the HIM department before another person can access the records.

Healthcare proxy, another type of form used in record requests, is a big source of confusion, says Mohlenhoff says. Documents such as powers of attorney grant different rights at different stages. Some expire at the patient’s death, and others only become effective at that point. Some may not be effective when the patient reaches “diminished capacity” and is in the greatest need of assistance managing his or her records.

The issue of diminished capacity “is an important consideration,” Miller says. “You can word your advance directives and powers of attorney to prevent [a spouse or caregiver] having to wait for diminished capacity.”

For more information, read “Sorting out Advance Directives.”

Deceased Patient Records

The process and requirements change again when a person seeks to access the records of a deceased person. The rights conveyed by a healthcare proxy or power of attorney expire upon a patient’s death. An executor of the estate can gain access to records, along with quitter a few other legal mechanism for the access. It is also possible for next of kin to request copies of the records based upon documentation contained in the patient’s record, if they were designated to receive copies. For an individual to gain access to another adult’s medical records, they must file a petition with the court to become a personal representative of the estate.

This can be done in a probate court or other court of appropriate jurisdiction, and the requestor must be able to provide documentation proving their relationship to the deceased. And this isn’t necessarily a lengthy process.

For more information, see “Who Has Rights to a Deceased Patient’s Records?”

Parental and Spousal Rights

Married couples do not have an automatic right to one another’s records.

“You can’t necessarily request your spouse’s records. You need an advance directive, a power of attorney, or you need your spouse to sign the authorization form for you,” Miller says. “Sometimes that can be seen as cumbersome; however, it is really meant to provide privacy of the information for the patient themselves.”

For example, one estranged spouse may try to access the other’s medical records, and some patients may choose to hide certain medical treatment or testing information from their spouse or parent. HIPAA grants adult patients the right to privacy from everyone—even spouses and parents, Goethals says.

In some instances parents do not have full access their child’s medical record. There are some privacy protections for minors.

Some state laws, such as in California, allow minors as young as 12 to keep reproductive, sexually transmitted disease, and behavioral health information private from their parents. The parents would require a signed authorization from the child in order to access those records, Miller explains.

This can be a confusing and contentious issue with parents who may receive a bill for medical services given to their child but are denied access to those records.

Children age 18 and older have complete control over their medical care and records, and parents require authorization to access their records. This is true even if the child’s care is paid for by the parents’ insurance.

Setting up and Accessing Records from an Electronic Patient Portal

The “meaningful use” electronic health record (EHR) Incentive Program helped lead to the proliferation of patient portals—secure online websites that gives patients access to their personal health information and medical records at their convenience. According to ONC’s patient portal guidelines, using a secure username and password, patients can access the portal to review information pertaining to:

  • Recent doctor visits
  • Discharge summaries
  • Medications
  • Immunizations
  • Allergies
  • Lab results

Some patient portals also allow patients to:

  • Exchange secure e-mail with their health care teams
  • Request prescription refills
  • Schedule non-urgent appointments
  • Check benefits and coverage
  • Update contact information
  • Make payments
  • Download and complete forms
  • View educational materials

If a healthcare provider—including hospitals and physician practices—has an EHRs, they may also offer a patient portal. Patients typically find out about the portal from their physician, from their physician’s office staff, from a nurse, admissions personnel, or from their physician’s front office staff. If this information isn’t volunteered, patients should feel empowered to inquire on their own, according to an ONC fact sheet.

EHRs give patients another opportunity to access or request their records in a more convenient format. As ONC guidance states, “the Privacy Rule requires a covered entity to provide the individual with access to the PHI in the form and format requested, if readily producible in that form and format, or if not, in a readable hard copy form or other form and format as agreed to by the covered entity and individual.”  This goes for electronic record requests, too.

“Where an individual requests an electronic copy of PHI that a covered entity maintains electronically, the covered entity must provide the individual with access to the information in the requested electronic form and format, if it is readily producible in that form and format. When the PHI is not readily producible in the electronic form and format requested, then the covered entity must provide access to an agreed upon alternative readable electronic format,” the guidance states.

One of the ways patients can gain access to their online medical records is by taking advantage of the Blue Button Movement. The Blue Button symbol is an icon that appears on the patient portals of Veterans Administration beneficiaries, and originated as a way for VA patients to collect all their health records in one, easy-to-access location. ONC launched an online tool, Blue Button Connector, which would help patients identify which providers participate in the Blue Button program.

Click here for the government’s most recent guidance around patients’ privacy rights.

TIPS FOR RECORD REQUESTS

Read online or call the facility’s HIM department for information specific to your request for access or copies of your records. This will give you time to collect the required information and documentation before you arrive. If you are requesting another person’s records, you can confirm in advance that you will have authorization.

Provide as much information as you can on the patient access request form. This will speed up request processing by giving HIM professionals sufficient data to track down your records. If you have a common last name, provide extra information about yourself, such as your date of birth or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Bring a valid government issued photo ID and all other required legal documents with you when you pick up a record request. HIM professionals by law must deny requests where the individual cannot prove his or her identity or his or her right to access the records.

Discuss with HIM staff the exact parts of the records you can request. Or, if you don’t know which parts to request, tell the HIM staff how you plan to use the records. HIM professionals can help ensure you receive the records you need—and not the ones you don’t. The set of records one should request for personal use, for example, can be different from the set of records sent to a doctor for continuing care. A person’s medical record can be hundreds of pages long, so requesting your entire record may be too much, especially if the facility charges a per-page fee for compiling and reproducing it.

Indicate if the request is urgent… Many facilities triage their record requests, putting the most time-sensitive and continued care-oriented requests first.

…but allow as much time as you can. Not all facilities honor rush requests, however; some fulfill orders in the order in which they were received. When possible, make your request well before you need the documents (between five and 15 days out).

Don’t request your records before you leave the hospital, but do make sure to get discharge instructions and basic information from the stay. If you need records from your hospital stay sent to a physician for follow-on care, you can request the transfer before you are discharged. This will ensure all of your records are sent, including the discharge summary. If records are transferred during an inpatient stay, they will likely be incomplete when sent.

If you’ve submitted a written request for records for yourself, or for a designated representative to receive records for you, and have not received a response, feel free to call the provider and confirm or double check that they’ve received your request.

If you feel that your privacy has been violated or that a provider has denied your requests, feel free to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights. Click here to learn more about that process.

 

To view a slideshow that walks patients through a typical release of information request, click here.
To browse additional articles in the Patient/Caregiver Resources category, click here.

Journal of AHIMA has published several articles that patients and caregivers may find useful in their efforts to better understand and manage their personal health information—whether looking for guidance on how to get the records request ball rolling or simply wanting to find some general information on privacy rights.

 

*Titles and organizations have changed for Jennifer Miller and Colleen Goethals since the original publication of this article. At the time of this update, their new information is as follows:

  • Jennifer Miller, MHIS, RHIA, director of HIM at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Colleen Goethals, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA, Director, Health Information Management  at R1 RCM

 

Chris Dimick (chris.dimick@ahima.org) is editor-in-chief at Journal of AHIMA.

Mary Butler (mary.butler@ahima.org) is associate editor at Journal of AHIMA.

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109 Comments

  1. I would like to know how physician offices are handling the inquiries from a patient who during their visit wants a copy of the immunization record and or lab work or radiology report – are they obtaining a patient authorization?

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    • I want to know how you can get your records from overseas and don’t remember the hospital or the doctor.
      thanks

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    • I need help. I am 34 years old and im hiv positive but everybody failed to tell me i was born with the disease, i know this because the medical code is on my birth certificate im having major problems from legal to family trying to hide this from me. I feel so alone and my rights and many others right have been violated and nobody will help me. I have tryed the distric attonery to the comissoner and nobody will assist me. Is there anyone who can help me please im lost and i feel like i dont even know who i am anymore.

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      • I guess the best thing you can do is to file a complaint if you think your rights was violated.Visit this website hhs.gov/ocr

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      • I like two have a copey of my metcal records please

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    • No, At the time of appointment copies of immunization records are given directly to the patient.

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    • My doctor opted out of Medicare. He gave me a CD of my medical records. But the CD will not open WHAT can I do?

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      • ask the practice what software program is used for the making of the CD. It should most likely be a pdf file.

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    • What are a patient’s rights getting medical records in their ‘native’ format?

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  2. If the release doesn’t have an expiration date on it how long is the release good for? (IE 60 or 90 days)

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    • Do you have to have a picture I’d when mailing in a request for records

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    • 180 days to 1 year depends on the state and the medical group

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      • I need my records from like 30 years of everything I’ve had done, but have no records of none, I’ve lived in Texas and Germany and had surgery in both places along with other things in the states and need help.
        thanks

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        • I need records from 5 years ago when husband was in hospital for 2 months. Want to know everything about surgery and about filter implant to put his mind at ease
          Thanks

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        • My Dr. is closed down . I didn’t know till I tried to call. I have medical records in need. Where do I start!!!

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          • My doctor has been ordered by medical license board for 14 treatments.He will not get his license back until they say so. He abandoned his patients,not leaving us any notice which he could and should have. His office cancelled 4 appointments so they were probably in the know-why they didn’t inform the patients is unacceptable and not professional. Completed and returned release form,received call from his wife jan 2 2018 left voice message she had a question about my records-she was to call back but she never has.She has gotten a phone with an unknown number and the office phone was disconnected months ago.So I cannot get in contact with her.What can I do to get my records? I am in severe pain,almost bedridden from no pain meds,withdrawals from morphine he had me on,and I cannot see a specialist until I have my records. What options do I have? Could I take this to court?

    • I just read online that it is. 30 days ago and they can get one extension of 30 days. Verify for sure.

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  3. If a patient requests medical records from our office and in addition records from previous offices in which she was seen (that were transferred to us) Are we obligated to provide records from all the previous offices or can we refer the patient to the original office in which she was seen. I was under the impression that we could only release records from our own practice.
    Thank you.
    -Kim

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    • I had to request medical records from each previous physician, whenever I’ve transferred to a new specialist or PCP. Some only provide a summary of treatment when asked to forward records. It’s always a good idea to request a copy of the files from previous physicians and specialists. a patient may discover a discrepancy between what a former physician told them and what was relayed to the new physician. Ultimately, it’s up to the medical office who receives the request as to what will be provided. Best bet is to always recommend the patient request files from previous physicians as well as their present one.

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    • I believe the rule/law is now that once records from another facility are made part of your record, they are considered your record and can be re-released. I am from Michigan. Search items regarding re-release of records.

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  4. Melissa:

    Check out this it might help you understand redisclosure of records from other medical offices. http://library.ahima.org/xpedio/groups/public/documents/ahima/bok1_042636.hcsp?dDocName=bok1_042636

    Generally if you have used the information to make health care decisions for the patient, it is considered part of your designated record set and you are able to release it. However, it is always best to suggest to the patient that they request the information from the originator as you do not know if the information you received is complete.

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  5. My 81 yr old father can not drive the 2 hr drive to his doctor anymore near their home on the lake. He requested his medical records in writing. He or anyone else can not read what was sent. He called the doctors office and they said they couldn’t type them up but would let him know. What are our rights getting these. He’s seen this doctor for over 15 yrs. And no there are no mental issues to hide from the patient so why will they not send something my father or family can read.

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  6. How long does a clinic need to house a childs medical record? I was told that it is 7 years after the child turns 18. Can someone verify this?

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    • I worked at a doctors office for 10yrs and we were told records had to be kept for 7 yrs.

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    • At our facility its till the child is 21 yrs after birth. Unless they have been seen after the age of 21 and then its 10 yrs from the last visit.

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  7. My doctore recently retired and sold his practice to another doctor. Would I request records of the retired doctor from the new doctor?

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  8. In California does a faxed or copied authorization have to say “copy is as valid as original”

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  9. @Cindy: Patient does not need to sign a release form to get copies during their visit, if the clinicians have the records readily available to copy. Some organizations may require the patient to fill a form out anyway just to have something on file showing they disclosed those recs to the patient, but not required technically.

    @David: Most releases are good for a year from date of signature

    @Melissa: you can disclose other offices records if you used them for medical decision making, but note to the patient the records you have may not be their complete record from those other offices. It’s also better for the patient to not have to go to several offices to get what they need if you have it all available.

    @Laura: Send in the release form, filled out and signed by your father, and ask the doctor’s office to mail the records to his home.

    @Robin: Depends on state law. Many organizations keep records for 10 years from last date of service. Others will keep records until patient hits 18 then 2-3 years afterwards (minimum is still 7-10 years from last date of service).

    @Ken: Generally the sale of a practice comes with the patients and their records. You should be able to obtain your records from the new doctor if he picked up where your previous doctor left off. This isn’t always the case.

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    • @Jay does the provider/dr have to sign off on the records request before records are sent out? And if not why not?

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  10. I tried to look at my medical records at the local huge medical corporation. The idea was to look at the record and then request only the ones I needed. The nurses and medical records people refused, saying that the records were on their computers and they’re not going to let a mere patient to sit at their computer. They were very angry when I pointed out that state law allowed patients to see their medical records, and that I’d be happy to look at paper files if they don’t want me looking at their computers. They reused, saying that they don’t have any paper files – no, you can’t look at your records. Who cares about the laws?

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    • The facility should have someone sit with you and pull up your records on the computer and let you read them.

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      • After signing Authorization to View Records.

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  11. My daughter wanted to get her results from lab work and an ultrasound but could not get it from the doctor’s office, she signed a release for me (an employee) to retrieve it from the medical record for her. I have now been placed on suspension pending investigation. Since a release was signed, what that illegal?

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  12. I am trying to get my 16 year old sons records from the hospital I took him too. He died january 9th 2013. Our local native american clinic sent a fax to get those records and they refused. I have two reasons to get them. One is for referance for another son who has the same condition and we as a family have some questions about the son that died.

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  13. When a patient picks up records in the HIM Department a picture ID is necessary. However, when it is mailed in we ask for the signature to be notarized to make sure we are sure of who is asking for records. I do not see anything regarding this in the article. Why would we except a mail in signature but have to have a picture ID if they pick up? Help!

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  14. How do I obtain my medical records from 2005 to current day

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  15. What is a Doctor has not sent two patients record ( my mother and I ) after 4 months? Do I have a right to themk?

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    • To Ed,
      What is a prerogative of themk Dr.s reasonings is beyond the scope of preponderance, Hopefully the unsent patient’s record the Doctor will send to you and your mother.
      4 months is too long to use a silly excuse so you should call or if nearby, go to the Doctors office and explain to the staff that it’s way past due.
      Good luck Ed.

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  16. I want to obtain my records from a previous physician that cared for me while I was pregnant in 2009, in Texas. How would I start that process?

    Post a Reply
  17. I was wondering how releasing medical records to another clinic works. If another clinic is requesting medical records on a patient is a signed release required? How about if the patient has been reffered to this other practice? What if this patient was not reffered to another clinic and they are requesting records? Do I need to request a signed release to send these, or do I need to inform the patient and get verbal consent from them? Please help!

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    • @ Tiphanie…when I worked at a doctors office for 10 yrs, I we needed records from another doctor or facility, we had the patient complete a Medical Record Request Form that listed the patient information and that they request records from “OLD DOCTOR” name & address to be sent to “NEW DOCTOR” name, address, phone fax. Must have patient sign & date
      Regardless, HIPPA laws require patient written consent

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  18. Hello;
    Is there a means of restricting information that a doctor releases? For example, I am leaving my primary care for another, I would like to prevent the previous physician from giving out my records after I leave.

    I also went to a chiropractor office, and found them to be seeking long term payment for services they called “super billing”. How do I restrict them from everything that they had me sign?

    Thank yo for answering these questions!
    Terry

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    • @ Terry…Restricting information…first a doctor cannot release to another “person” without your authorization, thats the law. However when I worked for a doctor for 10 yrs, if another doctors office called and wanted say, copy of a certain date of service or what your diagnosis/treating you for was, it was given to them. BUT, as the HIPPA laws got tighter, we had to have the patients permission. What I’d recommend to you is to write the Previous doctors office a letter to be filed in your chart that he has NO PERMISSION TO COPY OR DISTRIBUTE INFORMATION WITH OUT CONSENT, sign date and notarize, mailed to them certified.
      As for the chiropractor office, I don’t understand what you’re asking.

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  19. Hi-We requested records on 8-29-2013. Never heard back. Filed a complaint on 12-1-2013 with the ORC. As of today, 3-5-2014, we have not received records or heard back from the ORC?? What next steps do we take? We believe our child’s medical records were looked at by neighbors, as a few work for the place our child receives medical care.

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  20. i’m looking for my birth parents

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  21. Can a patient use a notary to request Medical release to have their records tranferred to another Doctor?

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  22. My ENT retired a year ago. He referred me to a new Dr and told me that he would send my
    Medical records there. They have NOT received anything!
    I have had other health issues and didn’t contact the new Dr until recently.

    What do I do if I have no way to contact my Dr if he is retired????

    I am assuming. The records are being stored somewhere. By law they have to be kept for
    7 years.
    Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you.
    Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • First I’d call the number to the old office. Most times when a doctor retires or passes away, the office is “aquired or bought” by another doctor or practice. Seeing as he referred you to a new doctor, I assume he as referred other patients from his former practice to this doctor too. Ask the new doctor what the agreement was with obtaining records after your doctor retired.
      You are correct, records can not be destroyed for 7 years.

      Post a Reply
  23. My uncle moved from Ohio to Florida and is having difficulty getting records sent to Florida doctors. His son has Power of Attorney and the Ohio office refused stating the patient must be present…Not possible. Patients have the right to a copy and to have them transferred to another office (via copies of course). Technically he should only have to fill out a Record Request at the Florida office and have the Florida office submit to the Ohio office and that should be the end of it. Doctor to Doctor request, but nope they won’t accept that!!
    What are you to do then????

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  24. As state laws state 7 years for retention, but our facility keeps records for 10 years (or longer if scanned), when a request for records is received for ‘all records’ is it required that ‘all’ records be released or can policy state we only release back for 10 years (which is our retention policy)? To be succinct, if we have them in some format are we obligated to release even if the time exceeds 10 years? Deleting scanned images would be a time consuming project. How do others handle that?

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  25. I’m requesting records from another state. I was adopted and after the adoption we learned I had a heart condition that required surgery upon my birth and now later having circulation problems among several others I wonder if this could be why however don’t know exactly how to request my records from across the country. They’re being requested for personal use and I know 18 years later my doctor no longer works there. How am I supposed to go about this?

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  26. Can I ask a nurse who comes to my house twice a month for IVIG infusions for a copy of the order she received (doctors order)from the pharmacy she is employed with, and this order resides on her laptop ?

    Post a Reply
  27. After waiting 4 months to see a dr. Who was highly recommended to me 3 weeks ago they cancelled and rescheduled me. Yesterday they called and cancelled again and didn’t know when they could reschedule. Please note I have never seen this dr. When I first called to scedule appointment they asked me to get. All medical records from any dr. I had previously seen which was 3 other drs. And also asked me to have another MRI done. They couldn’t scedule the MRI because he had never seen me, so I went to my former orthopedic who is partially retired. They now have all record from my 3 former drs. And all x Rays and mri’s. When they called to cancel again yesterday I told them that after waiting for almost 5 months and no appointment in site I would like all my records. She tells me since the dr had never seen me that they cannot release my records because they are from other drs. Is there anyway I can get my records from them. I am 71 years old, having issues with neck and back and do not feel like running all over to get my records when they are all in one place.

    Post a Reply
    • Judy. I too, had similer problems. I made an appointment with a RA specialist, & told them that some of my records had been lost, but i had them. They were very nice & gave me their fax number even. They set up an appointment & my primary care doctor canceled it!
      NOW THIS PART IS FOR ANYONE TO ANSWER PLEASE! I went to the ER, other day & i noticed they did not do anything i had asked for? Like an oxygen flow reading, because of my heart & stroke history. The biggest mistake was they put down a different MEDICAL RECORD NUMBER for me? Then i looked at some older records from same hospital from a doctor i had fired back in 2011 for neglecting me. That doctor when i went for my medical records in 2012, they had the same MEDICAL RECORDS NUMBER they used just this NOV.20, 2015. I thought everyone had just 1 MEDICAL RECORD NUMBER for the same hospital, no matter if it was 1 specialist or another, or even the ER, as long as it is the same hospital how could i have 2 different medical record numbers? Has anyone ever heard of such a weird thing?

      Post a Reply
  28. I had a problem with a hospital in 2011. My records were alterred. They said that they never did a certain injection. I later found the hosp. ER.discharge notes with a different medical record number, than my NORMAL medical record #. I thought this was a 1 time deal, but i just noticed 3 years later, i went & by mistake they used that old medical number!Has anyone ever heard of a patient having 2 different medical record numbers from same hospital? They are not even close. I was shocked, because 99 percent of the time i have just 1 medical record number, except that 1 year when i fired my PC. but i had always had same number, except the time i requested my records from that particular doctor who was neglecting my care, BUT, I JUST noticed other day they used that other medical record number! I thought all hospitals had 1 medical record number for that hospital. (realize if you go to a diff. hosp. in another state they will have different medical record number) SO, has anyone ever heard of same hospital using 2 different medical record numbers?

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  29. How can I obtain records from the time of my birth?(1958)

    Post a Reply
  30. I am currently working with a law firm for a law settlement for my deceased mother who had taken the medication “Actos” and developed bladder cancer, which was not disclosed at the time she was prescribed the medication.

    I have not been able to get records from 1999- 2006. Do you any suggestions?

    Post a Reply
  31. How do I get records from a dr office that has been closed and the dr lost his licence

    Post a Reply
    • Jose, i have the same problem. my Dr. lost his license, and disappeared. How can i go about getting my medical records?

      Post a Reply
      • This also happened to me and I desperately need these records for a disability case. Jose Guerra was your doctor from Saginaw, Michigan by chance? I think we may be talking about the same character.

        Post a Reply
  32. My (minor) daughter is changing speech therapists (insurance approved and covered) here in California. The former speech therapy office will only provide a copy of her initial assessment, even after I requested (in writing) a copy of either 1) her latest evaluation or 2) recent progress notes. I have Under HIPAA, I believe I have a right to her medical records, correct? I have been polite in my requests but since they refuse I believe I have a right to file a HIPAA complaint, correct? Thank you!

    Post a Reply
  33. Can you please email me on how to apply for medical/mental health records. I am applying for ssi and the disability help agentcy is requesting these records. Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • MY husband had brain stroke in the lower part of his brain. He has weaknesses on left side. He is now unable to work. He needs social security disability and insurance. Do I get copies of his medical records. Will social security obtain his records or do I need to have them when he applies?

      Post a Reply
      • Working in ROI has been a rather eye-opening experience. Where I work, Barbara, SSI often requests records themselves, though many patients also request their own records, either for appeals, or to submit themselves.
        Also, unless you are assigned as his durable power of attorney, or his legal (with documents) guardian, you don’t have access to his records. Excepting those, he will have to be the one to request them.

        Post a Reply
  34. If a requestor has paid for copies of medical records but cancelled prior to receiving them by law do they receive the entire amount back? We do a prepay basis and the work has been done, I would like to keep a processing fee is allowable.

    Post a Reply
  35. With the digital signiture going live with many hospitals how does the hospital know that when they receive a request for records that the digitally signed document is the patient’s? How does one verify this?

    Post a Reply
  36. I was wondering when we tried to obtain our medical records, the medical records were intact up to ten years, but the needed radiology reports and scans we needed we said to have been destroyed at 7.. those were critical records for us… I would think they would keep the record at 10 for medical, lab and radiology.. just disturbed that what we needed was gone. This was at a hospital. Is that normal to have a three year gap in the records

    Post a Reply
  37. tried to get medical said had to go to probate judge how do I do that

    Post a Reply
    • where do I get the paper to sign to send to court with my id
      .

      Post a Reply
  38. Having been very frustrated by both the record collection process & the confusing presentation of test results, myself and a team of other designers & developers have been building a service to make it as easy as possible for people to get their insurance claims history & medical records all in a beautiful app they have at their finger tips. For the time being, the service is free, and you’ll always have access to your records wherever you are:

    https://checkapollo.com

    Part of the problem, as this article explains, is that providers & insurers often make it difficult for patients to get their data (e.g. charging fees, requiring notarized forms, requiring faxed requests). We believe that if enough people start requesting their data, then these providers will start to change their practices and in the meantime we want to do the hard work of providing people the experience they should have when accessing their data. We want to help communicate to these companies that people do care about their data, and they need easier access to it.

    As people become more engaged participants in their health, we believe that the costs of healthcare as a whole will go down. Engaged, educated patients is a positive for everyone. By having your data online, we think it’ll be much easier to obtain second opinions, and to discuss and understand your results with specialists and online communities.

    We’re early on, but would love to hear about the frustrations you’ve had in trying to collect your results. Sign up & give us feedback on what the most valuable aspects of the service would be for you! Please let us know your thoughts.

    Nicolae

    Post a Reply
    • Also I wanted to share a link to the HIPAA Access Guidelines:

      Individuals’ Right under HIPAA to Access their Health Information
      http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/access/

      HHS has done a really good job of explaining in clear language what rights individuals have when requesting their data, and what constitutes information blocking from these providers. If you encounter issues you can also file complaints to the Office for Civil Rights here:

      https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/smartscreen/main.jsf

      In addition, there’s a non-profit called GetMyHealthData which was started some time not long ago that is working to help patients get their data & document the challenges they face in doing so:

      http://getmyhealthdata.org

      Another great place to share your experiences & help make a change in the system.

      Post a Reply
  39. how can i get my medical records of my birth in Essex county in new jersey from 1960 is it possible?

    Post a Reply
  40. How many times must a doctor honor a patient’s request for copies of medical records when the doctor no longer sees the patient. The patient has received their records multiple times since they last saw the soft but is requesting them again.

    Post a Reply
  41. Can one entity release another’s records.
    For example, can a SNF release the discharge summary from the hospital?

    Post a Reply
  42. My Mother pasted away in 1976 of cancer and I was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 the Doctor’s keep asking me what kind of cancer did she have and I don’t know. How can I find out? Please help me!

    Post a Reply
    • Her death certificate will typically show the type of cancer as a primary or secondary cause contributing to death. You can order these from the dept of vital statistics (or whatever it’s called in your state).

      Post a Reply
  43. My pain clinic closed down without any notice I’ve been trying to get my medical records from them but have not been successful. I need my records so I can start seeing my new pain doctor. How can I get them. Please reply asap.

    Post a Reply
  44. I need a copy of my medical record asap from previous doctor who closed her practise this month. I was told by her office that medical records will be sent to http://www.medicalrecords.ca by the end of this month. I already have a new doctor who requested my record and he need this as I am taking chemo and need prescriptions very soon. Plain and simple put how can I get the information, what do I need to do?

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  45. what is the rule on releasing records after the date the patients signs the authorization.
    example: the release is sign on 8/12/2016 for records from that date and earlier.

    a month later I come back and asked for copies of records for my September 8th, 2016 visit.
    we are asking for a new authorization signed on or after the 8th.

    we are getting so much push back for this request. Are we in the wrong?

    thanks for your help.

    MJ

    Post a Reply
  46. how do i get a surgeon to release clearances to new surgeon. office manger is saying this is a HIPPA violoation. i don’t beleive it is. if i request , in writing, records to go some where, i don’t see a privacy issues here.

    Post a Reply
  47. My son died accidently from pain medication he was prescribed the day before. He was 34 yrs old and had no will, power of attorney or no estate. I need to know why he was presribed this high dose of medication because he was not terminally ill that I know of and the doctor knew of him for 8 yrs and knew he was depressed and on depression medication, He also left an 8 1/2 yr. old son behind. Please help me.

    Post a Reply
  48. I had surgery in 2001. In 2002, the doctor who performed the surgery quit private practice. After numerous attempts to obtain records from the surgery and post surgical problems, I was told (about 2 mths after the doctor quit private practice) that the records had been destroyed. I was able to obtain the hospital records, but not the doctor’s records. Are these records still obtainable?

    Post a Reply
  49. What do you do if they do not provide the records within 30 days and keep giving you the run around? My husband is trying to have his records sent to a new office and the old office is just giving him the run around. All of the paperwork was faxed and the old office confirmed they received everything.

    Post a Reply
    • Ask the new office to call the old office to follow-up on where are the records. Sometimes when an office requests the records directly, they will get the information faster than if the patient requests it. Also, if your old office is a very busy office and has only one medical records person. Then it might take longer than if they had a big staff only working in medical records like hospitals do. Another thing to find out about, do they use a copy service? If an outside company is providing the records then the office may not know when the copy service will get around to sending out the records.

      Post a Reply
  50. I have a conflict at work. I work in Medical Records and require the patients to sign a release of information form at the doctor’ office when they request anything from their charts whether its lab results or their entire medical records. My coworkers that work in the front desk say I don’t need to have the patients sign a release of information form unless if they are requesting their entire medical records. Am I right or wrong for asking patients to sign a release of information form if they are only asking for lab results, imaging results, etc. and not their entire medical records? Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • I personally would keep doing what you are doing. The local hospitals I see have patients sign an ROI before getting any part of the medical record.

      Post a Reply
  51. need to get e.r. hospital records

    Post a Reply
    • To get your E.R. medical records you should be able to just go to the hospital with a picture ID and request it.

      Post a Reply
  52. A doctor’s office from Massachusetts is refusing to email a 3 page record to my dentist unless I pay 35 dollars fee. In massachusetts, there is a small fee but not this amount! what can they charge for emailing a document?

    Post a Reply
  53. On consent to release, does a date of encounter(s)/dates of service have to be included on the authorization?

    Post a Reply
  54. I requested a copy my medical file and also a copy of my personal financial record from my drs office. I have given them the 30 days, but they do not want to provide me with a copy of my financials. Can they do that??? I only see this dr once a year last time I was in when I went to pay my co-pay they told me a had a credit. I hadn’t been back to this particular dr. for 2 years. Shouldn’t I have been notified and reimbursed for any overpayments during that time? Do that have to provide me with my financial records if I ask for them?

    Post a Reply
  55. I would love to have my medical records

    Post a Reply
  56. We moved from PA to SC. In April of this year our children’s new Dr sent requests for records. My youngest just started school and has to have his shot records and they will not accept the one I have from my old drs office. The old Dr office never sent their records. And the records department always goes to voicemail. It is now September and I have left 3 messages a week since May and no one has called me back. What can I do?

    Post a Reply
  57. I would like to get my records from a Drs office.. They will only allow me to have their office notes and test.. Not any records that were transford to them when I came to the office.. They will not release those notes or test that they were give.. Am I not entitled to those as well since I signed a release form for them to get for my past drs office.. It is not part of my chart and medical records I can have copied..

    Post a Reply
  58. How do I get my medical records of when I was born, in 1957, when the Dr is dead now and the hospital is closed?

    Post a Reply
  59. I need to request my medical records from a private practice in NYC. I had a surgery go very wrong, I am scared he will omit or alter my records. Would going in person and asking for them on the spot give less opportunity to have this happen?

    Post a Reply
    • Im having these same concerns. My son was in a mental hospital, he signed a release so i could have access to everything, as he nust turned 18. I need copies for legal reasons. Staff at this hospital has repeatedly lied to both myself, and my son. He never had a psych evaluation within 24hrs, and after getting the run around run for hrs, lied to, etc. I’m under the impression that must be something that they’re trying hard to hide. Even had a charge nurse tell me that they didn’t have access to patients files! You’re giving my son, 7 psych meds, but nurses don’t have access to patients files? I said that it’s wonderful that, and amazing they were able to find and hire so many health care providers who are psychic! How else would they know whag meds patients received, dosage and frequency. Answer was scary. They treat every single patient with same meds, dosage and frequency. My son was unable to properly speak, and couldn’t comprehend, let alone answer simple conversational questions. Due to the massive amount of incompetence, and blatantly refusing myself and my son access to even read his records there, we’re both terrified that they’re altering his file. They medicated him via injection, and he signed two forms, but he doesn’t know what they were for. Had to call, and ask a receptionist who everyone’s names and titles were, because they dont wear name tags, and even refused to tell me their names and titles. They use the, “He’s here for mental reasons, and he’s lying, or fabricating stories” whenever I approached anyone about why he was being lied to, having bis rights violated, etc. I know he needs to talk to a therapist, but my son isnt fabricating stories, as i he was on the phone with me during conversations with the staff. I heard everything! They didn’t know that I was still on the line, as he held it down by his leg, allowing them to assume that he had finished his call, and we were disconnected. Sorry for the rant! After a week of nothing but lies, and refusal of reading his file, just worried sick that they’re altering his file, or outright destroying everything, and replacing it with forged, or incorrect information to save their asses. Especially, since he was forced to sign two unknown documets, while he was extremely incoherent from being medicated. He shouldn’t have been signing, or making any important decisions when he was so extremely impaired. Hell, it took 5 days for them to “find” the medical info release form, so I could find out what they were giving him. I called a complaint line, and theh did return my call, and left a msg, as I had missed the call. Since, he was being discharged in the morning early, I didn’t return his call. I’ll definitely be calling him back in the morning. My son watched another male patient die from being over medicated. Was also informed that every single patient gets the exact same meds, mgs, frequency. My son was forced to take 20 pills in one day. I’m terrified that because of everything, that it’s going to cause more issues then originally. He was having a bad day, and just unfortunately a cop was listening to him rant from an unmarked police vehicle, and everything just got blown way outta proportion. Feels like I’m in a lifetime movie! Lol shutting my mouth now, hopefully that everyone has gotten their issues resolved, or making progress. Guess I needed to blow off some steam.lol

      Post a Reply
  60. I have a patient that is asking for copies of records she gave us from her previous Doctor. Do we have to release them or copy them for her and if so copy, can we charge?

    Post a Reply
    • Just my opinion as a patient. Did she charge your office when she went to the other doctor, and then brought you the copies, and sounds like she didn’t make duplicates for her self. I wouldn’t charge her for a copy As a courtesy, because she did save your office time, etc for obtaining them herself, and personally drlivering them. I would however, maybe say that it’s usually office policy to charge a minimal fee for copies,but, since she obtained them herself, that you’re waiving the fee this time. But, unfortunately, that in the future, any additional copies of the same documents, would incur a small processing fee.

      Just my opinion, and thoughts about how to show her that you appreciated her saving you valuable time, but, also informing her that there’s normally a fee associated with that. Usually, people are more diligent about storing documents if they know that will have to pay if misplaces them.

      Post a Reply
      • Yes, I’m aware that my punctuation above is horrendous. There’s typos, and run on sentences. I’ve been awake for over 40hrs straight. Still have at least another hour, before i can sleep. Thanks for everyone’s understanding in advance. I appreciate that no one will post rude, ignorant replies to my previous comments. It’s refreshing when people actually focus on the topic being discussed, instead of belittling each other over typos.

        Post a Reply
  61. I would like to obtain my medical records regarding my visits to a certain doctor in Ottawa Ontario back in 1966 through until 1970 as I cannot remember the exact date, but do know the doctors name and reason for visit.
    Can you please help me with this request.

    Kind regards,
    Pat

    Post a Reply
    • Just my thoughts, I’m not an expert. Yet. Lol If you can get in contact with him via phone, or in person. I would ask him what his policy is for medical files, after 10yrs after last appt before moving, or changing doctors, etc. Some older doctors actually archive inactive files in a secure, locked file cabinet, instead of completely destroying the files. I think it would be nice, if there was a storage facility that heath care providers would send inactive patient files to. If the person is deceased, maybe add an authorization form, as to who the doctor can give the old file to. Maybe, provide them with the option of them taking the file with them, or having it archived for a reasonable fee to offset the costs of the space that will have locked file cabinets. That space wouldn’t be profitable, and have to pay someone to archive all the old files, or process requests of patients files, and checking cabinets at the end of the day. Or, could scan inactive files of living patie ts into one backup storage system, and scan deceased patients files into a seperate electronic storage space, unless it’s been over maybe 30-40yrs.

      Just an idea that popped into my head. Unfortunately, if that doctor did destroy your file, then there’s no way to retrieve the file sadly. I apologize for the long reply, and not a definitive answer, or easy solution. Maybe, if he hasn’t thought about archiving old files, he will if you planted the idea in his head..lol

      Post a Reply
  62. Hi am 46 years old and i need to know how i can get my medicals records from birth to now i called the hospitals i was a patient back when i was a child and they said they only keep medical records for 7 years then they shred them is there a way i can get my medical records from another source. Maybe the hospitals sent copies to state medical agencies. If anyone can elp me it would be much appreciated.

    Post a Reply
  63. I had recently done my new mammogram.The MD asked for my previous records from 2010 to compare and proceed accordingly. I called to the Imaging Clinic in TX and had it set up over the phone, as I thought. I provided all my info via email to the Imaging to get the copy personally and for my MD. But nobody from Imaging Clinic in TX ever offered me to fill up the Patient Request Form. I was told it will take 3-5 days for delivery. It is a month and a half now and none of the two requested copies were delivered. I filled up the Request from MD so that they could fax it and get a copy quicker. Still No results. Im very stressed out about this situation with Imaging Clinic careless irresponsibility bcs my health is still in unknown stage. How can I get my personal records from them? Where could my previous personal records(which were sent to me and my MD as per their phone statements) get lost?

    Post a Reply
  64. If a patient asks a nurse if he can look at his health record and states that he is providing verbal authorization to do so, will he be given his records?

    Post a Reply
  65. I am transferring from one Family Doctor to another one. I have been going to the same Dr for over 25 years. I paid $50 for forms to be copied so the new office would have my records. I was told that the receptionist that the Dr. went through and picked out 79 pages to copy. I hand delivered them from one office to another. Is this standard practice for an office to pick and choose what is important or should it be a complete set of what they have?

    Post a Reply
    • The medical record contains a lot of information that isn’t necessarily clinically relevant. While if you ask for yourself, you may get all the nursing notes, and regular progress notes for an inpatient stay, they aren’t always useful for another doctor. At least when I send records out to another clinic, I tend to focus on History/Physicals, consults, discharge summaries and doctor visits, as well as lab results, cardiology tests (ekg, echo, etc) and radiology. There are many other notes possible in your record which may just be ‘Note dictated.’ Which is useful for tracking, and as the patient you may be curious at that (and other nurse’s notes) and you have a right to access it or obtain it, but doesn’t help a doctor’s office at all in treating you.
      I hope that helped clear some things up for you.

      Post a Reply
  66. my spouse passed away in July 2018, we resided in arkansas but went to texas for a procedure and she passed away in recovery. i would like to retrieve her medical records and wanna know what steps need to be taken first to make this happen. thank you

    Post a Reply
  67. I had a specialist I saw for almost 6 years in East TN, I moved to middle TN from 2014-2016 and seeing doctors there they needed records and was only sent 1-2 pages but I had a book since I went to this doctor for 6 years. I move back to East tn and the doctor passed away and the only information the hospitalhad was a P.O. box so I wrote to request my records and got my letter back within 2 weeks along with a photo copied letter requesting $50 and to include my doctors name address phone and fax. I thought they were charging since they were sending to me because I thought doctor to doctor was free. I sent cashier’s check 7-11-18 it’s 10-2 and no word, no other contact info do I have or the hospital I’m which he worked. I feel almost add if I’ve been scammed. I have no idea how to get my records and I desperately need them. Any advice??

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