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How do I Obtain my Medical Records?


It may appear complicated to request your medical records from your doctor or hospital, but once you understand the law and how to go about it, the process will look much simpler.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA is the federal law which govern how medical information is disseminated. New York state does give patients and other qualified persons the right to access medical records and any individual can request their own to be released to them.

To request your medical records, you should begin by contacting your health care provider's health information management department to complete an "authorization for disclosure of protected health information" form. A signed and completed form is necessary to have your records released.

Choosing the Right Records

This authorization form will ask you what specific information you want copied and released. You can ask a health information management professional to help you determine what to request. Records can be hundreds of pages long so you should try and be specific and selective in choosing.

You may be asked additional information if you want to request especially sensitive health information such as HIV/STD testing or behavioral health. New York requires a person to explicitly state they wish to have released records containing information on an HIV diagnosis or treatment.

More and more health facilities make records available electronically as a CD, DVD, USB flash drive, or secure email.

While you may request a copy of your records, for legal and business reasons, you may not obtain the original which belongs to the hospital.

If you physically go to your physician's office, you will need a valid government-issues photo ID to request your records and additional documents if getting another person's records.

Once requested correctly, you should allow up to 60 days for providers to fulfill the request. Most facilities can complete the request within 10 days, however. The fee for the records in New York is usually 75 centers for each page; all the more reason to be selective in the records you want provided.

If you need help requesting your medical records to submit as part of a personal injury claim, The Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli can help you obtain them towards recovering needed compensation.

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