If you are hurt in car wreck or other accident, you might need to get a copy of your medical records for the insurance company or your lawyer. You might also just want to have a copy of them for your own use. While providers and their records vendors might try to charge you high fees to do this, federal law provides you with rights to get your medical records quickly and affordably. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How Do I Get A Copy of My Medical Records?
All you need to do is request a copy of your records from your health care provider. Your health care provider will be able to direct you to the appropriate person. There are no technical requirements. However, if you want the records to be sent to another person, such as another doctor or your lawyer, you will need to make the request in writing, must sign it, and must clearly identify the designated person and where to send the copy of your medical records.
How Long Does My Health Care Provider Have to Provide the Records?
After receiving a request, a provider or their medical records vendor must provide the records within thirty days. Federal law does give providers the right to ask for an additional thirty days, but only if they are unable to provide the records within thirty days, explain the reasons for delay, and provide a date upon which the records will be produced.
How Much Will the Records Cost?
Your health care provider can only charge you the actual labor cost for copying the records, plus the cost of any supplies such as a flash drive, cd rom, paper, or postage. They may not charge you a research fee or any fee to review the records. Since most records are now stored electronically, this cost is usually very inexpensive. Federal guidance allows your providers to charge a flat $6.50 fee instead of calculating the actual costs. If the provider chooses to charge the actual cost instead of $6.50, they have provide you with an estimate of the costs in advance.
Can a Provider Charge More if State Law Says that They Can?
No, as long as you request the records yourself, federal law controls.
Can I Request All of My Records from My Provider?
Yes. Federal law requires providers to produce all “medical records and billing records about individuals” that they maintain.
Can I Request Paper Records?
Yes, although paper records may be more expensive due to the cost of the paper.
Can I Request Electronic Records?
Yes and this should be the quickest, cheapest way to do it.
Can I Have the Records Mailed to Me?
Yes. You can have your records mailed to you or to someone else that you designate.
What If My Provider Does Not Give Me the Records?
If your provider will not timely provide you with your medical records, then you can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. Check out the following link: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/filing-a-complaint/index.html.
Do These Protections Apply if My Attorney Requests the Records?
No, unfortunately, health care providers and their vendors will still try to gouge your attorneys, if your attorney’s request the records. Here in Alabama, an outdated law allows providers or their medical records vendors to charge a $5.00 administrative fee and then $1 per page! Here at Johnstone Carroll, we provide our car accident and other personal injury clients with a flash drive and a form letter that they can give their providers to request the records. This helps make sure that our clients do not pay more than they should for their own medical records.
If you Have Any Questions About Getting Your Medical Records After a Car Wreck, Call Us. We Provide Personal, Compassionate, and Results-Driven Representation for People Injured in Automobile Accidents.