Not one week goes by in our office without a caller telling us that their doctor or hospital or nursing home will not provide them with a complete copy of their medical records. Our response is always the same….UPON REQUEST YOU MUST BE GIVEN ALL OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS!! No ifs…ands…or buts. The only requirement is the payment of reasonable copy costs.
I practice law in Virginia so can quickly refer to our statute which requires health care providers to produce medical records upon request. Every state has such a law and the federal government requires it! The federal law giving patients and family members access to medical records is the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA allows health care providers to withhold records only in very limited circumstances, such as psychiatric records.
Some families are provided with a selection of records or a summary of the records. Don’t allow your doctor, hospital, or nursing home to get away with this – it is wrong and violates state and federal law. Tell the health care provider you want your records produced within a reasonable length of time (10 – 15 days) and if they are not produced you will contact legal counsel.