Medical Records: What are your rights?

As the patient, your medical records belong to you.

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 rights 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. If a third party, like a law firm, requests the records, the written request must include 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 hospital are not allowed to charge unreasonable rates to copy a patient’s medical records.