How to Get Your Medical Records
You have the right to read and get a copy of your medical records. Your records are all of the written and recorded health care information about you that your providers keep. Examples of information that may be in your medical records are doctors’ notes from your appointments, lab test results and x-rays.
You can get a copy of your medical records by asking each office that holds your records, such as a doctor’s office or hospital. They may charge you to give you a copy of your records. If you see more than one doctor and you want a copy of all of your medical records, you will need to ask each doctor for a copy.
Example: Your medical records are free if you are using them to prove that you need disability benefits.
In other cases, you may be charged for copies of your records. The charge is either a flat fee of $5 or a rate of 50 cents per page—whichever costs more. You also may be charged reasonable fees for providing copies of x-rays, disks, tapes or other heath care record information stored in other formats.
Example: If you medical record has 20 pages, the cost for getting a copy of your complete record would be $10. If you had an x-ray and also want a copy of that, the provider can charge you more.
How to Ask for Health Records
Do You Want Copies for a New Provider?
If you have a new health care provider and you want the provider to have copies of your health records, the best thing to do is to sign a form that lets your new provider get copies of your records from your other providers.
When the provider asks for copies, you don’t have to pay for them.
Do You Want Copies for Yourself?
You can ask for your records by writing a letter, emailing, calling, sending a fax, or asking in person. It is best to ask for your records in writing. Be sure to include the date you make the request and keep a copy.
If you have been with the provider for a long time or if you have been very sick, your medical record can be very large. You may want to ask your provider to copy only the most important pages. You may want to ask for the records of visits during a specific period of time or related to a specific illness.
If your request is specific, the copies should be cheaper. It can also be easier to find the information you want in a specific request, rather than trying to look through your whole record.
In most cases, your provider has 30 days to give you the records you ask for. If your records are stored in a different place, your provider has 60 days to give you your records.
If you have trouble getting a copy of your medical records, you can call the Office of the Health Care Advocate at 1-800-917-7787 or fill out our help request form.