How to Get a Copy of Your Medical Records
You generally have the right to obtain your medical records for any reason, although there are a few exceptions. Some people discover errors in their medical records, and others have difficulty obtaining records because the doctors who treated them are no longer practicing.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website outlines how your health information must be kept private and secure under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). As the HHS notes, the Privacy Rule found in Title II of HIPAA is a federal law that gives you rights over your protected health information.
The Privacy Rule limits how protected health information can be shared, but the rule applies to all forms of individuals’ protected health information, including electronic, written, or oral data. The Privacy Rule also requires any covered entities to notify individuals when their protected health information is used.
Why You Would Need a Copy of Your Medical Record and How It Can Help
People may want to view their medical records for many reasons. Some people may wish to keep their own records of their medical history. Some individuals may have valid concerns about the accuracy of the records, with certain errors resulting in financial or health coverage complications. In some cases, people may be seeking a better understanding of their health after conversations with physicians still left them with questions or concerns.
Many people seek medical records after an injury accident. These medical records can be critical for individuals when they are seeking compensation for serious injuries.
Who Can Request Copies of Medical Records?
The HHS states that you or your legal representative are the only parties who have the right to access your medical records. Under 45 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 164.524(c)(2)(i), a covered entity must provide an individual with access to protected health information in the form and format they request when it is readily producible.
A covered entity is defined under 45 CFR § 160.103 as being a health plan, health care clearinghouse, or applicable health care provider, and 45 CFR § 164.524(a)(1) provides individuals with the right of access to inspect and obtain a copy of their protected health information.
How to Request Your Medical Record
Certain covered entities may require medical records requests to be in writing. Some entities may have specific forms that must be completed, and these may be deliverable in person or by mail or fax. Some forms may be completed electronically.
When forms are not provided, you can submit your own request. Be sure that your request includes your name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, phone number, email address, a list of the records you are requesting, and your preferred format for your protected health information.
HIPAA Rights and the Law
HIPAA gives you the right to get a copy of your medical record. A covered entity generally needs to comply with your request within 30 days. Under HIPAA, you can also ask that your protected health information not be shared with particular individuals or entities.
Under HIPAA, a health care provider can share protected health information when a person gives the provider or plan permission to share the data, the person is not present and does not object to sharing the information, or the provider determines based on professional judgment that it’s in the person’s best interest.
What to Do If You’re Denied Access to Your Medical Records
Two exceptions contained in 45 CFR § 164.524(a)(1) are psychotherapy notes and information relating to a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding. Even when a health care provider denies your request because they believe that seeing the records could endanger you or another person, you still have rights.
South Carolina law requires a healthcare provider who denies access for this reason to provide the individual with a summary of their record. The HIPAA Privacy Rule also gives you the right to have a different health care professional review the decision.
Rock Hill Hospitals
Hospitals in Rock Hill include:
Piedmont Medical Center
222 South Herlong Avenue
Rock Hill, SC 29732
Carolinas HealthCare System Urgent Care – Rock Hill
1656 Riverchase Boulevard #1800
Rock Hill, SC 29732
Contact Stewart Law Offices
If you’ve been hurt in an accident and need to get your medical record, contact Stewart Law Offices for help. Our team of knowledgeable personal injury attorneys can help you get all of the evidence you need and will help you understand your rights and legal options. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.