Can Patients Request Medical Records

There was a time when getting a copy of your medical records was a hit-or-miss proposition. Depending on your health history and how your provider documented it, a complete medical file could be inches thick or just a few pages. The healthcare provider had much control over how much you would be permitted to access or if you could access it at all.

The passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was supposed to level the playing field for patients seeking access to their medical records. Today, can patients request medical records, and how difficult is it to do so?

The Process of Patient Requests for Medical Records 

Can patients request medical records? Under HIPAA, patients have the right to have complete access to all of their medical records. The HIPAA Privacy Rule guarantees this right, specifically under the right of access provision.

Before HIPAA’s rules and regulations, healthcare providers often treated patient records like they were the provider’s property. The healthcare provider had almost total control over how much a patient could access.

However, with HIPAA’s passing, patient requests for medical records must be met within 30 days. Patients can be charged for a copy of their records, but the key phrase is “reasonable and customary.” Providers are not permitted to charge excessive or punitive fees for copies of documents. 

That’s all patients have to do. Once the request is made, the clock is ticking for the provider to respond.

Make Sure You’re HIPAA Compliant

We can provide you with policies to make sure you meet HIPAA right of access standards.