At some point in your life, you may have heard the term “HIPAA” thrown around in reference to your medical files and your rights under doctor-patient privilege. You may not, however, know what exactly this law is or how it works. The truth is, it’s there to protect your rights in accessing your records while preventing unauthorized people from the same.
It can also, however, be used to prevent you from accessing certain records, which can be frustrating if you need them, say, to pursue a personal injury claim or worse, a malpractice claim. Learn about your rights in accessing medical records, whether yours or someone else’s and learn how a personal injury attorney can help with denials.
MEDICAL RECORDS AND YOUR RIGHTS
There are tons of reasons why you might need access to your medical records. Perhaps you need information on an illness or condition that might affect a relative. Maybe you’re pursuing a lawsuit for personal injury or malpractice. Maybe you’re just changing doctors. These cases and others are part of the reason why HIPAA exists.
HIPAA stands for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. It’s a law that was created to protect patients’ records and privacy in medical situations. It gives the right to a patient to view their own original records at the doctor’s office or to request to be given copies, or both.
WHOSE RECORDS CAN I REQUEST?
As a patient, you always have access to your own medical records. You may also request the records of another, provided that they have provided written permission designating you as their representative. You can also request the records of your own child, or someone for whom you serve as a legal guardian. You may request the records of deceased persons if you are an executor or estate representative for that person, or if you’re a relative and the medical information is related to your health.
There are exceptions to these rules. If the child has consented to medical care that state law doesn’t require parental consent for them to consent, these records may be denied. If the child is given medical care via court discretion, or if the parent is in agreement that the minor and healthcare provider have a relationship that is confidential, you may not access records.
Likewise, the provider may deny certain types of records, including notes from psychotherapy sessions, information that is being gathered for use by courts in lawsuits, or medical information that is deemed to present a danger to the life or safety of you or another person.
REQUESTING MEDICAL RECORDS
Requesting medical records is usually as simple as contacting the healthcare provider to find out where you should send the request, and issuing it in writing, including all relevant contact information, the records you desire, and a release form.
WHEN YOU’RE DENIED
Even though you have the right to your records, there are some circumstances in which your request might be denied. When this happens, especially if the records are needed for a court case, your attorney might be able to help. The right personal injury attorney in Texas knows the channels to use to get you the records you need and can give you the best chance of getting compensation for your injuries. If you need help with your medical records, call the Bandas Law Firm for help today.