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Getting Your Medical Records: Information on Rights, Procedures, and Denials

There are many reasons a person may need access to their medical records such as certain types of lawsuits like personal injury and accident cases. Your medical records can play a critical role in cases such as these in order to prove that the other party indeed was responsible for your injuries and therefore your damages. Because of this it is extremely important to know how to access your medical records and use them to your advantage.

Know Your Rights

On a national level the federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) allows patients to access a copy of their medical records from any medical provider although some restrictions do exist. These include the restrictions against obtaining another person’s medical records, meaning your may only have access to your own. Although this is true, if you have written permission from another person expressing that you may access their medical records such as elderly parents or guardians, you may legally do so. Additionally, you may be granted access to your children's medical records although you may not have access if your child is receiving medical attention as a result of a court order, if parental consent is not necessary for treatment and the child consents, or if the parent or guardian agrees that the child and their doctor's relationship is confidential.
Further, you may also be granted access to another person's medical records if you are their legal guardian, as well as if you legally represent the estate of a deceased person and are responsible for their estate and subsequent distribution of their assets, you may be granted access to their medical records.
Although the HIPAA gives patients the right to get copies of all of their medical records, it also allows health care providers to withhold some types of medical records. Examples of these include medical information being utilized for a lawsuit, psychotherapy related information, and any medical information that may put your life or other lives at risk. If the situation does arise in which the medical provider chooses to deny you access to certain medical records, you may be able to appeal their letter of denial and gain access.

Turnaround Requirements for Requested Medical Records

Under HIPAA regulations, a medical provider must produce copies of the requested medical records within 30 days of filing the request, otherwise they are obligated to provide you with a reason as to why they are not able to give you access within the 30 day period. Although this is true, certain state laws require an even shorter time period in which the provider must produce copies of the medical records.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.



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