Charleston, SC

How to Access Your Medical Records in Case of an Emergency or Crisis

May 16th, 2017 Posted by Personal Injury
It’s important to know how to access your medical records in case of an emergency or crisis.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 set up a national standard for the maintenance of electronic medical records.  HIPPA was enacted to ensure that electronic medical records could not be altered by the hospital without detection at a later date to cover up incidents of medical malpractice.  Additionally, HIPPA stipulates that electronic medical records, including the audit trail, must be maintained by the health care provider for at least six year.

You have a right to your records, paper or electronic. These must be supplied to you upon request.

Most practices and facilities ask you to fill out a form to request your records. Call the provider’s office to request a copy of the form.  They should be able to deliver it to you by fax, email, or postal mail, or you may pick it up from the doctor’s office.

You will likely need:

• Your name, including your maiden name (if applicable)
• Social Security number
• Date of birth
•Address and phone number
• Email address
• Record(s) being requested
• Date(s) of service (months and years under the doctor’s care)
• Signature
•Delivery option (pick up, fax, email, etc.) – these may vary in cost.

Your medical records should always be made available to you. Section 164.524 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations states, in part: (1) the individual shall have a right to obtain from such covered entity a copy of such information in an electronic format and, if the individual chooses, to direct the covered entity to transmit such copy directly to an entity or person designated by the individual, provided that any such choice is clear, conspicuous, and specific; and (2) notwithstanding paragraph (c)(4) of such section, any fee that the covered entity may impose for providing such individual with a copy of such information (or a summary or explanation of such information) if such copy (or summary or explanation) is in an electronic form shall not be greater than the entity’s labor costs in responding to the request for the copy (or summary or explanation).

When you hire a competent attorney, these records can be requested and obtained by the law firm.  There are times when hospitals and doctors will delay access to these records or even attempt to prohibit their release.  If the health care provider refuses to produce these documents after an attorney has been hired to represent your medical malpractice claim, the attorney can then have the Court compel the doctor or hospital to produce all of these records in their entirety.

If you have any questions about collecting your medical records, or would like a free consultation to see if you qualify for an expungement, call me at (843) 225-2520 or send an email to info@peperlawfirm.com.

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