Many people at some point in their lives find themselves in a situation where they need to access either their own or someone else’s medical records. It could be something very simple—you’ve moved to a new town or changed healthcare providers and your new doctor needs your old records. It could be something more serious like you’re pursuing a personal injury case or even a medical malpractice case.
The first thing to know is that in most cases, you have the right under federal law to access your records. There are also some circumstances where you might have access to other people’s records as well. Learn about getting medical records, who has access to your records, whose you can access, and the situations when you might need help from an attorney.
Getting Medical Records via HIPAA
HIPAA is a Federal law which stands for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. It’s an important set of laws that protects your privacy, while at the same time making sure that you always have the ability to access your important documents. You have the right, under HIPAA, to view the original versions of all your medical records at the doctor’s office where they are kept. You can also request to be given copies of these records.
The only exceptions to this law are in situations where the doctor feels accessing your record would put your health, life or safety in danger (or the health, life or safety of another); psychotherapy notes which are always confidential; or when the healthcare provider is gathering information for a court case.
Access to Others’ Records
In certain cases, you may also access the records of others under HIPAA. The most common situations for this are those where you are accessing your children’s records or the records of someone over whom you have legal guardianship. In these situations, you can access records except in situations where the procedures don’t require parental consent, where courts have ordered the treatment, or where you have agreed on the doctor-patient confidentiality involved.
In addition, you may be able to take a look at the records of a deceased person if you are either the personal representative of the estate, or you are a relative of the deceased who needs access to these records for matters that are related to your own health.
Obtaining Medical Records
Getting medical records usually requires just submitting a written request to the doctor’s office. You should include your complete contact information, the records you need to access and why. In some cases, you might need your social security number.
After this, the doctor’s office is required to provide your records, under federal law, within 30 days. If they decline or experience a delay they have to provide you written notice as to why.
Challenging Delays and Denials
f you experience delays or denials in getting medical records, a qualified attorney may be your best bet. The right lawyer in the Tampa, FL area can help cut through the red tape and protect your rights in accessing your records. If this is you, contact Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers for help today.