There are countless reasons why you might need to access medical records. You might be changing to a new healthcare provider and you want to transfer records from your old one. You might have an elder loved one in need of care, and you’re their guardian. You could be facing a nursing home abuse suit or a personal injury case. Whatever the reason, it’s vital that you know your rights and what you have to do to get hold of those records.
There are laws in place that clearly define your rights in accessing medical records, whether your own or someone else’s. Learn all about getting medical records, your rights under HIPAA, and when you might need to seek out help from an experienced elder law attorney.
Getting Medical Records
The first thing with which to be familiar when getting medical records is HIPAA. HIPAA is the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. It exists to protect the privacy of patients and their medical records. It also holds medical providers accountable for their actions. The important thing for you is that you have the right to access your own medical records.
You can, under federal law, always see your own original records at the healthcare provider’s office where they’re kept. You can also request to be given a copy of the records. The only exceptions are if the records are psychotherapy notes, which are always confidential; if the provider is collecting records for a court case; or if they have good reason to believe the records would put you or another at risk.
Seeing Others’ Records
There are also certain circumstances under which you can view other peoples’ medical records. These include when you are the parent or legal guardian of the person whose records you’re seeking, if you are a relative of a deceased person and the records are directly related to your health, or if you are a designated representative of another with their express written authority (such as a power of attorney).
The only circumstances where you can’t see the records of your child or someone over whom you have guardianship, is if they have consented to a procedure that didn’t require your permission, if you’ve agreed to the confidentiality of their relationship with the doctor, or if they’ve received treatment via a court order.
Getting medical records usually means just filing a written request, including your contact information, the records you need to access, and the reason why you want to see them. After this, the provider usually has up to 30 days to issue the copies or give you a written explanation as to why they haven’t.
Just because you are refused, doesn’t mean that’s the end of the road. Challenging a refusal, however, can require help from an experienced and qualified attorney. If you’re in the Charleston, West Virginia, area, the lawyers at the Stewart Bell Injury Lawyers can help. Get in touch with us today and set up a consultation about what it will take to access the medical records you need.