Updated August 2020
In 2003 — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule took effect. The HIPAA defined the rights a patient has to his or her medical records, also known as Protected Health Information. This means that you have the right to submit a request to your health care provider for copies of your medical records.
Your Pennsylvania Medical Records
The information provided in your medical records includes:
Family health history
Results of examinations
Treatment received in a hospital
Having a copy of your medical records helps to keep you and your doctor equally informed on your medical history. Having multiple sets of eyes on your medical records can reduce the potential for medical mistakes. Ultimately, the act can help you to receive better healthcare. But the question of how to acquire your medical records remains.
How to Obtain Your Pennsylvania Medical Records
Still, you may not be exactly sure how to obtain your medical records — or even what to look for in the records. Start by asking your doctor how you should go about requesting your medical records. This may entail filling out a specific form or submitting a request in writing through mail, e-mail, or fax. If you have requested a copy of your medical records to keep, your doctor holds the right to charge you a fee. However, if you only wish to look at your records, no fee is charged.
After you submit all the necessary paperwork requesting your medical records, your doctor has 30 days to inform you that your request has been either accepted or denied.
Looking Over Your Pennsylvania Medical Records
If any incorrect information is documented in your medical records — or if you feel important information has been omitted from the records — you have the right to request an amendment to your medical records. However — you do not have the right to strike information from your records or to dispute your doctor’s diagnoses. The point of an amendment to your medical records is to add any information you feel would be essential to your healthcare provider.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.