Recently I needed to see a specialist for a medical problem I was experiencing. After several visits, the problem was resolved and I am now good as new. After the first visit, the doctor’s office sent an invitation to create an account on their website where I would be able to check appointments, view conditions, and medications, and send and receive messages.
I created an account and after a few days received an email stating that an appointment had been scheduled and a new condition had been added to my records. Imagine my surprise when I read that the condition added was hypertension.
When I went in for my next scheduled appointment, I asked the physician’s assistant why hypertension was listed as one of my conditions. She did not have an answer but told me she would remove it from my record, which she did.
So why am I telling all this? An incorrect diagnosis or lab test result could cause an incorrect medical evaluation or treatment. Mistakes on your medical records can also cause problems with other medical providers. In addition, if you want to change your Medicare Supplement plan or company, incorrect information on your medical records could have a negative effect on the medical underwriting.
Examining your medical records is not only a good thing to do, but you also have the right to do so.
Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
HIPAA provides you with the legal right to obtain copies of your medical records regardless of whether they are maintained on paper or electronically. This includes medical and lab test results, billing information and doctors notes.
Your right to request your medical records
You may request medical records if:
- You are the patient or the parent or guardian of the patient.
- You are an advocate or caregiver and have obtained written permission from the patient.
Some records can be denied
Under the law, there are some records that can be denied to you, but if records are denied, the denial must be provided to you in writing.
How to request your medical records
Most health care provider will have you fill out a form to request your medical records. If the provider does not have a form, you will need to write a letter. (Be sure to ask the provider what information you need to provide in order to obtain your records)
Providers are required to keep adult medical records for six years but this could vary by state.
If you want to obtain a specific lab test or a hospital admission record it may be easier to request them from the lab or hospital rather than trying to get them through your primary care provider.
You may have to pay your provider for providing you with your medical records, but the price must be reasonable.
Remember: You have a legal right to your medical records and you may share them with anyone you trust.
Medicare explained in plain English
I help seniors confused by their Medicare options by explaining Medicare in plain English, saving them time and money.
Whether you are new to Medicare and need someone to explain Medicare in plain English or have had a Medicare plan for years and want to know if you may be paying too much, I am here to help.
I specialize in Medicare products for seniors and represent all Medicare Supplement Plan types.
Your questions and concerns are my business.