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Do I have the right to obtain my medical records ?
Old 05-11-2016, 10:42 PM   #1
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Do I have the right to obtain my medical records ?

Do I have the right to obtain my medical records after payment of reasonable fee for photocopy / digital disk duplication, or is it limited to the right to restrict access by others ?

Short version of current situation : referred by primary care to a specialist. Several expensive lab test procedures in office went without any drama.
After 6 or so comunication screw ups between specialist office staff, separate mri center staff , separate hospital x-ray dept . I have reached my frustration limit.

Surprisingly, insurance has nothing to do with it !

I have pissed away my time , and have no confidence of this specialty group office staff. I went in , asking to pay all co-pays,co-insr. owed and requested my records. Suddenly it was like I rang a fire alarm. Tons of questions of why I want to say so long and leave with my records.

Understaffing or ineffective management at best , If they can't see how screwed up the office runs, I am no one to judge them.

I don't have the records. Should I just demand by certified mail if I am entitled to them ?
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:50 PM   #2
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Yes, you have a right to review them.

Your Medical Records | HHS.gov
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Old 05-11-2016, 11:07 PM   #3
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Yes, you have a right to review them.

Your Medical Records | HHS.gov
And for a reasonable fee, receive a copy of them. The doctor's office has to keep a copy of the records also. I think they would have to have the originals though.
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Old 05-11-2016, 11:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for the link. I only want them to avoid duplicating 2 painless but costly tests already done.

I plan to move treatment to the specialty group at one of the local university hospital medical centers. Everything on one spot , no finger pointing on who did or didn't get medical orders , test results etc.
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Old 05-11-2016, 11:56 PM   #5
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I generally ask for copies of my results immediately when done.
For x-rays and MRI , I tell the techs that I'll take the CD they burn to my doctor.
I make a copy (its not copy protected) and I give the copy to the doc if he wants to keep a copy.
You paid for the tests, you own them.

My DW taught me to get the results, as previously I'd just the doctors office hold them and not even ask. Then you get problems when changing doctors, etc.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:27 AM   #6
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I just fired my physician because of a general lack of communication, recordkeeping, and the willingness to share my medical records with me. Even with regard to billing! When I finally got a copy of the one record I asked for, it was so unprofessional - practically undecipherable. Perhaps inadvertently, they took advantage of my condition when I was sick to get me to pay for deductibles and co-pays that were not part of my insurance plan, and then gave me the runaround when I asked them to verify my insurance, as they should have before the billed me (as every other physician I've ever used had done), and issue me a refund immediately. They insisted on waiting until they received payment from my insurance company, even though they're supposedly "in-network" and therefore are obligated to act as the insurance company's agent for matters of billing, rather than as a completely independent contractor.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:39 AM   #7
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Have you talked to the doc?

If they continue to resist, tell them that you are legally entitled to copies and that if they don't provide you copies (that you'll pay a reasonable cost for) in 24 hours that you will file a complaint with the Attorney General's office. That should get them moving.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:59 AM   #8
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I believe HIPAA complaints need to be filed with HHS.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:24 AM   #9
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Have you talked to the doc?

If they continue to resist, tell them that you are legally entitled to copies and that if they don't provide you copies (that you'll pay a reasonable cost for) in 24 hours that you will file a complaint with the Attorney General's office. That should get them moving.
When I was there asking for my records, the doctor was in the office , seeing patients. Staff asked me to schedule an appointment to come in and talk to the doctor.........I assume this happens from time to time......So they want me and my insurance to pay for an office visit and waste my time to complain about non medical issues. Im going out on a limb here, THE OFFICE MANAGER IS SUPPOSED TO HANDLE THIS STUFF , NOT THE DOC ?.........I wasn't angry , just that 56 years on this earth has taught me to recognize when it's time to get off a horse that is going in circles, and try another one.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:44 AM   #10
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I, on the other hand, was disconcerted to find that BCBS "remembers" every little thing and provides it for my review, going back to 2008.
It reads like a litany of Getting Older:
cervical spine arthritis, high-frequency "senile" hearing loss, incipient "senile" cataracts (Dr. detected the beginnings of a cataract that doesn't have symptoms yet).
...when I first saw the list, with "senile" all over it, I had to rush to a mirror to be sure I still looked like me, and not my own grandma.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:53 AM   #11
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Getting my ducks in line before FIRE'ing, I requested a copy of my medical records so I'd accurate fill out my medical history before applying for private insurance (this was before ACA days). There was a nominal fee and no resistance to the records request.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:02 AM   #12
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My doctor's office has given its patients access to their records through online accounts. I'm surprised to hear people having so many problems since I thought digitizing medical records was now required. I'm also always given a DVD of any MRI scans in case I go to an out of network Doctor that may not have online access to my records, and I can print out written records. Sounds like lots of doctors still need to join this century.


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Old 05-12-2016, 09:24 AM   #13
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Yes, you are supposed to be entitled to receive a copy of your medical records. I found numerous errors in mine. Plus there is often a charge per page for copying and they included daily records of trivia (such as daily food intake and bathroom activity) from when I was hospitalized which inflated the number of pages and made it harder to find the errors.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:55 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dash man View Post
My doctor's office has given its patients access to their records through online accounts. I'm surprised to hear people having so many problems since I thought digitizing medical records was now required. I'm also always given a DVD of any MRI scans in case I go to an out of network Doctor that may not have online access to my records, and I can print out written records. Sounds like lots of doctors still need to join this century.


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I have not heard that records have to be digitized, but I do know that my previous PCP did...

But, I asked them to be sent to my new one and the new one said that they could FAX!! them.... say what

And then they called and said another doc has said they have faxed them twice but they have not received them....

I am getting a bit worried about my new PCP... and I have not even seen her yet!!!
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:55 AM   #15
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I'm just curious: what kind of records am I entitled to request from a doc to have for your own records in order to provide to a new doc if the transfer is not going smoothly? If a person only has annual visits with a family doctor, dermatologist, and women see an GYN/OB, what would be a good idea to ask for? I'd guess it's not necessary to ask for anything if one gets a clear bill every year. Once illnesses start appearing that necessitate various tests, perhaps then it would be a good time to start collecting medical data about yourself...?
Is a dermatologist supposed to share annual notes (including body diagrams with mole markings), if requested?

As a person who has been seeing docs very rarely, I'm out of touch with such things but now I'm curious.

What about records from your dentist?
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:29 AM   #16
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I'm just curious: what kind of records am I entitled to request from a doc to have for your own records in order to provide to a new doc if the transfer is not going smoothly? If a person only has annual visits with a family doctor, dermatologist, and women see an GYN/OB, what would be a good idea to ask for? I'd guess it's not necessary to ask for anything if one gets a clear bill every year. Once illnesses start appearing that necessitate various tests, perhaps then it would be a good time to start collecting medical data about yourself...?
Is a dermatologist supposed to share annual notes (including body diagrams with mole markings), if requested?...
request all records.

The ones I personally find useful assuming I am healthy is all x-rays, MRI's and blood tests as all 3 give you a baseline and slow evolution of change over the years.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:21 PM   #17
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Some years ago leaving Maryland for PA, I had problem with a doctor's office not cooperating with giving me copies of records. I pulled out my cellphone and asked the counter ladies if a police presence would help them find the stuff. In 10 minutes I had all the copies, no charge, bon voyage sir.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:57 PM   #18
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I've been with my medical plan for going on 35 years now. I requested a copy of my records about 15 years ago, and was given a folder about 2 inches thick. We're thinking of changing plans now that we're snowbirds and our plan doesn't cover FL. The last 15 years have been where most of my medical problems have occurred, and I'm hoping when I get the new copy they hand me a thumb drive. Otherwise I'll feel bad for causing deforestation and also probably won't be able to carry it.
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:47 AM   #19
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I feel awful tossing a good Dr. due to the support staff and an even worse provider ( the mri center). It's a small practice, 3 specialty doc's that use a mid size older hospital, but 8 screw ups between the Dr. staff, the mri center, and a phantom opthamologist that supposedly examined me , but I have never seen .

I expect glitches , but this is B.S. I really hate people that lie in an attempt to cover up mistakes.

I may break my rule on letting things go, and move on. Will me bitching to the office manager make things better in the future for other patients ? That would be the only reason to speak up.
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Old 05-13-2016, 05:39 AM   #20
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In New York State (and I think this is a national standard, but I'm not certain), not only does your health professional have to provide you with any and all records you request, including x-rays and MRIs etc, they are not allowed to hold those records ransom, demanding payment of anything, including the cost of duplication. They may charge a "reasonable" fee for duplication, but they are NOT allowed to hold those records until the fee is paid. They must turn over the records to you, or forward them to another office.

They are not entitled to demand a visit with their doctor before doing so.
They are not entitled to demand that all bills with the office be PIF before turning records over.

What was always unclear to me was whether I'd have to do it again if the patient asked for them and then misplaced them, and how quickly I needed to produce them. I had patients walk in and demand them "right now" with no previous call or warning. They were told "tomorrow" or some other time depending upon when we felt there may be staff time available to duplicate them. If they were particularly obnoxious about it, their demands would be less likely to be put ahead of other jobs we needed to get done.
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