February 22, 2020

Aren’t I entitled to my own medical records? Ask the lawyer

Q: Two questions. First: I want to get my medical records to give to a family friend (a doctor) to talk things out with me. It is possible I should change doctors, and that I am getting poor advice, but the medical office is taking quite a long time. Aren’t I entitled to my own medical records?

-W.H., North Hollywood

Ron Sokol

A: Yes, you are entitled to your medical records by law, pursuant to California Health & Safety Code Sections 123100 through 123149.5. You can find these statutes online. They cover your right to access your medical records, the time frame by which a doctor is to provide them, and fees he or she may charge for the copy. Often, a written request from you is sufficient, either to review the records or to obtain a copy.

Q: Second question: What if the doctor won’t send me a copy of my records?

-W.H., North Hollywood

A: If you requested the records in writing, the doctor is required to send them (typically within a limited time frame). If he or she does not do so, you can file a complaint with the California Medical Quality Assurance Board. Assuming the board finds the complaint valid, the board (which is the doctor’s licensing agency) may then take appropriate action against his or her license. If the failure to turn over the records causes a problem for you (for example, health wise), you may have a damages claim as well that belongs in court, handled by a suitable lawyer.

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Q: We are moving to another city, and I will have a new doctor there. I obtained records from my current doctor and am going through them. But my doctor didn’t provide me with records from other physicians I’ve seen while she was my primary, or those from a hospital where I had a surgery. She doesn’t have to provide those?

-S.W., Whittier

A: The California Medical Association has guidelines that physicians must provide any and all of your medical records that they have, which thus means from other health care providers as well, if they are there. You do not have to get permission from the other providers, nor their consent to obtain those …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Health


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