Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Do patients have a right to their medical records?

What recourse is available if a physician refuses to release dharamsala06/29/17
With some limited exceptions, it would seem that you should kramer71606/29/17
No, I didn't receive a letter. The receptionist just told m dharamsala06/29/17
I think you should be able to get them, but since time is of kramer71606/29/17
From what I understand patients have a right to all their me superttthero06/29/17
Subject to a few exceptions like the one supert stated above 3lol06/29/17
HIPAA lolwutjobs06/29/17
Doesn't apply to the patient themselves. "The Privacy Rul 3lol06/29/17
You can report to the OCR. lolwutjobs06/29/17
You can contact the PA Department of Health with your compla mera8806/29/17
http://patientsafety.pa.gov/NewsAnd Information/Brochures/Doc mera8806/29/17
http://statelaws.findlaw.com/pennsy lvania-law/pennsylvania-m fettywap06/29/17
Yes, the medical records are from PA. dharamsala06/29/17
I think just threatening to file a complaint against the doc downwardslope06/29/17
I am guessing these are your psych records? If true, then superttthero06/29/17
Psychotherapy notes are not the entire record. Filing a comp downwardslope06/30/17
This is an office that may have to sign off on a letter endo superttthero06/30/17
Federal HI-TECH also limits the amount docs can change you. lolasaurusrex06/29/17
Call your law school's Dean of Students and ask them to inte patenttrollnj06/30/17
Sounds like a HIPAA violation which you can report to the OC isthisit06/30/17
Look up the law, and check there isn't a valid exception. E dingbat06/30/17
It seems like a letter or evaluation would be more appropria fettywap06/30/17
Receptionist told me that the doc won't write a letter/eval. dharamsala06/30/17
fettywap makes a good point, you don't want to send your rec superttthero06/30/17

dharamsala (Jun 29, 2017 - 4:10 pm)

What recourse is available if a physician refuses to release medical records to patients? I'm not an expert on healthcare law, but this seems illegal. I was unable to apply for ADA accommodations on the PA bar exam because my doctor's office has a policy of not giving records to patients (despite a history of poor standardized test taking sans accommodations-got an 164 on the LSAT and 1350/1600 on the SAT). :(

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kramer716 (Jun 29, 2017 - 4:14 pm)

With some limited exceptions, it would seem that you should get copies of your medical records. Did you receive a denial letter from your doctor explaining why you can't view them?

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dharamsala (Jun 29, 2017 - 4:17 pm)

No, I didn't receive a letter. The receptionist just told me that they flat-out don't release records to patients. So messed up.

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kramer716 (Jun 29, 2017 - 4:22 pm)

I think you should be able to get them, but since time is of the essence I would just ask the office for a letter from the doctor explaining your situation for the PA bar.

As for the bar exam itself, don't psych yourself out. I passed the damn thing ten years ago now, and if I can do it then anybody can do it. Just trust your prep.

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superttthero (Jun 29, 2017 - 4:37 pm)

From what I understand patients have a right to all their medical records, but doctors can sometimes withhold mental health records if they think it could be harmful for the patient.

In Florida, the doctor, per state law, must provide records requested by the patient in a reasonable time. If they want to withhold mental health records for a mental health patient, they still have to 1) provide all the records to a subsequent psych, and 2) provide the patient with a report in liue of the records.

Look up the law in the state the doctor in in.

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3lol (Jun 29, 2017 - 5:16 pm)

Subject to a few exceptions like the one supert stated above (also some substance abuse records and records involving treatment of a minor in some situations), in NY patients have rights to their medical records

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lolwutjobs (Jun 29, 2017 - 5:16 pm)

HIPAA

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3lol (Jun 29, 2017 - 5:18 pm)

Doesn't apply to the patient themselves.

"The Privacy Rule generally requires HIPAA covered entities (health plans and most health care providers) to provide individuals, upon request, with access to the protected health information (PHI) about them in one or more “designated record sets” maintained by or for the covered entity. This includes the right to inspect or obtain a copy, or both, of the PHI, as well as to direct the covered entity to transmit a copy to a designated person or entity of the individual’s choice. Individuals have a right to access this PHI for as long as the information is maintained by a covered entity, or by a business associate on behalf of a covered entity, regardless of the date the information was created; whether the information is maintained in paper or electronic systems onsite, remotely, or is archived"

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lolwutjobs (Jun 29, 2017 - 5:42 pm)

You can report to the OCR.

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mera88 (Jun 29, 2017 - 6:55 pm)

You can contact the PA Department of Health with your complaint.

http://www.health.pa.gov/facilities/Consumers/Complaints/Pages/default.aspx#.WVWFMTPMyqA

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mera88 (Jun 29, 2017 - 6:57 pm)

http://patientsafety.pa.gov/NewsAndInformation/Brochures/Documents/brochure_medical_records.pdf

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fettywap (Jun 29, 2017 - 7:26 pm)

http://statelaws.findlaw.com/pennsylvania-law/pennsylvania-medical-records-laws.html

You didn't say if the medical records are in Pennsylvania or not, but yes you do have a right to your records. You could probably get a declaratory judgment or sue for negligence if your doctor violates his duty to provide them.

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dharamsala (Jun 29, 2017 - 7:31 pm)

Yes, the medical records are from PA.

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downwardslope (Jun 29, 2017 - 7:45 pm)

I think just threatening to file a complaint against the doctor's license should do it. This is common for many doctors to do because many patients don't realize they have a right to their records. Doctors will also do things like try to charge outrageous fees to get them as well- like $1 a page, which is not reasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

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superttthero (Jun 29, 2017 - 9:02 pm)

I am guessing these are your psych records?

If true, then everyone saying that she should file a complaint with the medical board or can sue needs to pay attention and slow their roll. As I said in post above, in Florida certain psych record can be a different ball game. 3lol said also in NY the psych exception exists.

The brochure posted by mera88 says this is the case in PA too. Second column on page 3:
"Psychotherapy notes can be kept confidential, and you may not have the right to see or amend these notes"

I would call again and explain the situation and ask what they can do--explain to them without providing something to the bar, you may have issues. Ask for the reason. Do not be confrontational.

If they refuse to provide the records or an answer send a certified letter asking for the records or an explanation. Do not be threatening, but hopefully this helps document your efforts to get the documents if it doesn't get you results.

Finally, if nothing works I would contact an attorney in this area--assuming to actually do *NEED* the records.

Do not go suing on your own, do not file a complaint without talking to a lawyer in this area--they may be completely within their legal rights withholding this from you.

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downwardslope (Jun 30, 2017 - 8:40 am)

Psychotherapy notes are not the entire record. Filing a complaint with the state board is not something one typically does with an attorney or that requires one retains an attorney. If it is an issue with the receptionist going beyond her authority, then it will be quickly addressed.

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superttthero (Jun 30, 2017 - 10:56 am)

This is an office that may have to sign off on a letter endorsing OP's mental health to practice law. I don't think getting the state board involved as anything but a last resort is ever a good idea, but even more so here.

I don't think she needs an attorney to contact the board, I would just want to get my ducks in a row before I piss off my psych. doctor, it's already a sensitive situation.

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lolasaurusrex (Jun 29, 2017 - 9:03 pm)

Federal HI-TECH also limits the amount docs can change you. Basically if they have electronic records they can charge you the cost of the CD and for someone to click copy paste.

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patenttrollnj (Jun 30, 2017 - 1:48 am)

Call your law school's Dean of Students and ask them to intervene on your behalf.

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isthisit (Jun 30, 2017 - 7:17 am)

Sounds like a HIPAA violation which you can report to the OCR. There are exceptions to that such as psych record requests.

I'd recommend asking your doctor for a signed letter on his office's letterhead denying your request. I'd also try to talk to him directly. It's very possible his receptionist is exercising too much control over her dominion.

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dingbat (Jun 30, 2017 - 9:06 am)

Look up the law, and check there isn't a valid exception. Either way, call the receptionist, inform her of the law, and tell her to put the doctor on the line or you will be reporting them.

If there is no valid exemption, tell the doctor to release the records or you will report him/her.
If there is a valid exemption, explain the situation and ask what can be done.


The office may have a blanket policy of denial, and they may fall under a valid exemption, but that doesn't mean they don't make exceptions - especially if you're not a high-risk situation.

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fettywap (Jun 30, 2017 - 11:50 am)

It seems like a letter or evaluation would be more appropriate anyway. I don't see why the bar should be viewing your medical records.

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dharamsala (Jun 30, 2017 - 1:58 pm)

Receptionist told me that the doc won't write a letter/eval.

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superttthero (Jun 30, 2017 - 2:55 pm)

fettywap makes a good point, you don't want to send your records to the bar unless they explicitly ask for it.

Find a new psych and have this one send the records there if you can convince her to write something.

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