If you need to go through the process of obtaining your own medical records or the medical records of a loved one, you need to know how to approach the process correctly. Here, we want to review your rights pertaining to obtaining your own medical records, the procedure for receiving these records, and what to do if you are denied access.
What Are Your Rights to Medical Records
When we examine information available from the Department of Health and Human Services, we can see that every individual has the right to “inspect, review, and receive” a copy of their medical records and billing records held by healthcare providers or health plans.
Only the individual associated with the medical records or their legal personal representative has the right to access their records. Healthcare providers or health plans are allowed to send copies of medical records to other health plans or providers, but only if it is needed for treatment or payment, and only with the patient’s permission.
How to Receive Your Medical Records
It can be confusing to understand how to access your medical records in Pennsylvania. However, there are various reasons why an individual may need these records. Perhaps you want to ensure that everything your healthcare professionals put in your record is correct. You may need to move your records from one institution or one state to another. Regardless, you do not need any reason to obtain your own records. If you want them, you can get them.
You need to ask your healthcare provider about the specific procedure for obtaining records. In many cases, these records are available online, particularly at larger healthcare providers. However, you may need to fill out a form and then make your request in writing. After you have made a written request, the provider will need to approve the request within 30 days if the records are kept at the site where health care professionals are located. If the records are kept at an off-site facility, they have up to 60 days to approve the request. There are various situations where healthcare providers can request an extension.
You may have to pay a fee to receive your records, but this fee is not charging you for your records in particular, but a charge for the labor and materials associated with putting the records together. We encourage you to ask your healthcare provider about the fees associated with obtaining your records, and if the fees are out of your budget, ask them if they have any payment plans or waivers that you can sign to obtain your records.
What if You Are Denied?
If you are wrongfully denied access to your medical records, we encourage you to find an attorney who specializes in this process. If you are trying to obtain your medical records for an incident involving a personal injury lawsuit filed against another entity or individual, ask a personal injury lawyer to help you obtain copies of your record. Your lawyer and their team will be able to navigate the process of obtaining records so you can move forward with your personal injury claim.