Ever tried to get your "complete medical record"?

I’ve asked for it a few times, admittedly casually, and been assured I get it, then received some stupid current synopsis of the last blood level results and a list of all the meds I could still get prescriptions filled for, which are few.

I was hoping to get a copy of all the notes in my file folder. Am I entitled to that?
I want to be sure that there is nothing wrong in my “permanent record” that will
get passed to the next doctor or life insurance company. [As an example, once I heard a nurse say “Oh, I see you’re a smoker.” I immediately corrected her, but she did not change my file, just handed it to the entering doc without comment, and I got distracted without telling him.]

Complete medical record? Who would have that? As far as I know my medical records are spread out over a number of organizations and companies. I really don’t think a single, comprehensive “permanent record” exists. The ones most interested in holding on to that information would most naturally be the insurance companies, but why would your dermatologist be holding onto any information from your colonoscopist?

Your entitled to copies of all medical records for yourself. They are allowed to charge an amount for the copies, but most places will supply your first copies for nothing. Often they have your records stored off site in a records warehouse run by a company that only stores records. You may have to wait up to a few weeks for these records even if they are at the place you are at, as they have to dig through archives and copy all your records. Don’t expect your current provider to have the records for a different place. You will have to request the records from each place that you have been to over your life. You can also request the records for your deceased parent if you need them.

Yes I did gather as many records as I could at one point due to medical necessity. I got a lot of them, but never all.

As **Rigamarole **said, if you’ve seen different doctors, they will each have their own records and your cardiologist will not know and probably will not care about what your podiatrist has been doing to you.

However, if you’re a member of a self-contained medical ecology such as Kaiser Permanente, there is one master record for you that all of your doctors will have access to. In past years, they had legions of people who did nothing but shuffle big file folders between various buildings. I think now, they’re moving to online files.

The thing Rigmarole said is not in the original question. The OP is asking about a single doctor. “file folder” singular.

Anyway, Yes, I tried and failed. Not sure what I’m legally entitled to, but the doctor said that since my bill was paid by workers comp, the record belonged to my boss who paid the bill. The boss told me he was ticked enough at having to deal with it the first time, so he wouldn’t help me. Click!

Now, if I want to find a doctor of my own to discuss it with, he would need to take new, unnecessary, x-rays. Unless I happened to pick the same doctor, then I suspect he could peek into his own old file. Seems like a racket.

The doctor was wrong. The boss does not own those records.

This is absolutely not true. If this were the case, insurance companies would own most people’s medical records, and they wouldn’t have to have you sign all those documents giving them permission to look at your medical records. The doctor either lied or is misinformed. Your medical records in the U.S. must be provided to you on request, albeit the provider may require a fee. Your medical history is not allowed to be provided to anyone but you, your guardian or parent (if applicable), or someone with one of those documents that you sign saying “so-and-so can access my medical records”. IANAL, but I’ve had to bring one in on a similar issue. One phone call from a lawyer (which cost me $237) solved the doctor’s “mistake” in even thinking that it would be ok to discuss my medical record with anyone but me without one of those documents, and his refusal to give me a copy. I am forever grateful to that lawyer, and it was well worth the money. This was Virginia, BTW.

I wonder if someone could just call in their lawyer’s name and save the $237. Seems a simple enough ruse.

State laws on medical privacy and confidentiality vary from state to state, but many states defer to, or incorporate, the requirements of U.S. federal law under HIPAA, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. Googling “what you’re entitled to under HIPAA” or “accessing records under HIPAA” or “patients rights HIPAA” or any similar search will immediately yield tons of information on what you’re entitled to, and how to get it. I would also suggest Googling “HIPAA” and your state just to see if you don’t hit on a quick primer on both.

Most states allow a provider to charge a reasonable fee for copying the designated record set prior to providing it. However, some states (Kentucky is one) provide that the patient is entitled to one free copy of his or her records.

Who “owns” or “paid for” the designated record set is not the relevant inquiry, since confidentiality and right to access is decided with regard to the patient, not the records’ owner or creator.

In Florida you pay $1/page for the first 25 pages then a quarter per page. You are entitled to the information on yourself. The doctor must retain the originals. There to be no markouts, no deragatory remarks in the
margins, corrections are to be initialed and dated. If you are leaving the practice they cannot hold the info hostage except for the cost of creating the packet for you, not the outstanding balance if any. I do this all day long as a medical records custodian.