November 14, 2023
Obtaining Medical Records in Pennsylvania
Accessibility to medical records is essential for many reasons, including understanding your health conditions and treatments and any potential legal proceedings. To treat you, other doctors, hospitals, and healthcare providers also use your medical records. Because medical records include your personal information, a thorough history of your medical and mental conditions, treatments, and ongoing care, medical records are protected by federal and state privacy laws.
In addition to your health care and treatment, understanding how to obtain your medical records and patient rights is essential for many reasons.
Why Would I Need My Medical Records?
Obtaining your medical records provides additional information regarding your health condition, treatment, and plans for your ongoing care. Accessing and reviewing your medical records also helps prevent miscommunication regarding your diagnoses and care and ensures accuracy.
Medical records are also often necessary evidence for insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits, especially car accident claims, to demonstrate and prove your injuries and how they occurred. Having a copy of your medical records can be helpful for several reasons, such as:
- Ensuring your records are accurate and complete.
- Changing doctors.
- Evidence of injury, illness, treatment, and ongoing care in legal proceedings.
- Undergoing treatment involving numerous doctors and specialists.
- Compiling family medical history.
- Ensuring continuity of care.
What Are My Medical Records Rights in Pennsylvania?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that healthcare providers maintain privacy about their physical or mental health and personal information. Federal HIPPA and state laws also establish your rights regarding medical records. It is essential to understand your rights regarding medical records. You have the right to:
- View and obtain your medical records: Healthcare providers must let you view your medical record or get a copy within 30 days of your request. Providers in Pennsylvania are allowed to charge a copying fee and postage, if applicable.
- Amend your records: You can request corrections if your records are inaccurate or incomplete.
- Request sharing reports: You also have the right to request a report detailing which entities your provider has shared your medical information. You also have the right to request that your medical record not be shared with certain entities.
- File a complaint: If you believe your provider has violated your medical records rights, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights or the Pennsylvania Department of State.
- Understand privacy practices: Healthcare providers must provide a Notice of Privacy Practices explaining how your health information will be used and your rights regarding your medical records.
Certain providers, such as psychiatrists, may be exempt from HIPAA regulations, and providers who share records or file claims via computers. Psychotherapy notes are confidential, and you may not have the right to view or amend these records.
How Do I Access My Medical Records?
Obtaining your medical records is a multi-step process, as healthcare providers must follow specific laws and regulations when releasing records. To request your records in Pennsylvania, you must:
- Contact your healthcare provider: You must contact your healthcare provider directly to request your records, typically by phone, in person, or through an online patient portal.
- Complete an authorization form: You must complete a form providing your name, contact information, a copy of your identification, the records you are requesting, the date range of those records, and the reason for your request.
- Pay fees: Healthcare providers in Pennsylvania are legally allowed to charge fees for copying and postage, if applicable.
Healthcare providers must process your request within 30 days of receipt, though they can extend the period another 30 days, provided they notify you of the processing delay in writing. You will receive either printed or electronic copies. Once you receive your records, review them carefully for accuracy and completeness.
Our Lansdale Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Help Injured Clients
If you have been injured in a car accident, obtaining your medical records is crucial. Our Lansdale car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. can help. Call us today at 267-861-7100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown.