Medical Records: What are Your Rights?

As a patient you have specific medical record rights. The rights granted to patients by law differ in each state. However, generally a federal law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) grants patients the following right to: (1) review, (2) obtain, and (3) amend their medical records.

Obtaining Your Medical Records
In most states, the request to obtain your medical records must be in writing and be accompanied by an authorization signed by the patient. Typically, a doctor or hospital must provide the records to the patient or requesting party within a reasonable time. In some states a reasonable time is defined as 15 or 30 days. If the records are not provided timely, then a complaint can usually be made to the state medical board.

Further, in most states, doctors and hospitals are not allowed to charge unreasonable rates to copy a patient’s medical records. As the patient, your medical records belong to you.

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