Know Your Rights When Accessing Your Medical Records

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When you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit you may need access to records of your medical treatments. If you’re pursuing a medical malpractice case, they may be at the very heart of your claim. You may also, however, simply be changing doctors and are in need of transferring your records to a new doctor. These are just a few of the reasons you might need to access your medical records.

You generally have a right to your medical records, and it can be very frustrating when for one reason or another you’re denied access. When this happens, some information and knowledge can help you to pursue the copies to which you’re entitled. Learn about HIPAA, its purpose, how it applies to your ability to access medical records, and when you might need an injury attorney to secure them.

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HIPAA and Your Medical Records

HIPAA is the federal law which exists to protect your privacy and which guarantees you access to your own medical records and in some cases the records of others, with a few notable exceptions. You have the right to view your original medical records at the Doctor’s office, or to be given copies of them.

You may also access the records of your children or someone over whom you’re a legal guardian. If you are the representative of an estate, you can access the records of the deceased, or if you need access for reasons related to your own health, and you’re a relative of the deceased.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule regarding when someone can access medical records. Your own records may be withheld if the physician believes that viewing them could pose a threat to your health or safety. Notes from psychotherapy sessions may also be withheld. In addition, if the information is being compiled for use in a lawsuit, it may be held back.

In terms of children, if your child consents to treatment that does not require your approval, their records may be protected from your viewing. Likewise, if you have agreed that their relationship with their doctor is confidential, or if the courts have granted treatment, those records can be held back from you.

Obtaining Medical Records

When you need access to medical records, you must submit a written request through the proper channels, and your PCP can direct you in that manner. This request will include a waiver, and your complete contact information (possibly including your social security number), as well as the reason for your request and the records you seek to access.

From there, the provider has 30 days to provide the records or to provide you a reason for any reasonable delay.

When You’re Denied Access

In some cases, you may find that you are denied access to your records. Whatever the reason, if you believe that you are entitled to medical records and have been denied them, an attorney could be of help. Personal injury lawyers know how to collate and access all necessary records while building a case and can help you with yours as well. If you’re in this situation in Massachusetts, contact Jim Glaser Law today at 781-689-2277 or fill out our online form to request a free case evaluation.