The Big Medical Secret...

Medical Records.. - Medical Records...
@twoey68 (13627)
United States
October 31, 2009 6:03am CST
I discovered something rather disturbing the other day and I wonder how many ppl know about it, don’t know about it or even care. I called my doctor and asked for a copy of my medical records. Considering I’ve been going to him since I moved here in 1991, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. The first woman I spoke to told me that another doctor or a lawyer could request it b/c if I asked for it, I’d have to pay for the copy. Then I called back and asked how much the copy would be and she transferred me to another receptionist. Now it gets good. This one tells me that b/c of the new HIPA and Privacy Act laws that it’s a lot of hassle and grief to make a copy of a medical file but any doctor or lawyer can require a copy and they’ll be happy to send one. Wait a minute, if it’s a hassle and grief to make one for me, why wouldn’t it be a hassle and grief to make one for a doctor or a lawyer? So, I ask her point blank, “So I can’t have a copy of my file?” and she says well, they really don’t do that. “So even if I pay for it myself, I can’t have one? I ask and she says flat No. However another doctor, a lawyer or even a caseworker can request one, with your permission, and they will send them one. I also found out that even if say, your lawyer gets a copy of your medical records they can make you a copy, if they want to, but their not allowed to copy anything psychological and give it to you. This really ticks me off…while the folder and the paper might belong to the doctor, the information belongs to me. Why am I not allowed to have it? Since when is it right for other ppl to be able to read your files but not you? I was assured that this is common practice though. Have you ever asked for and gotten your own medical records? Would your doctor give them to you if you asked? What if you were denied not only your own medical records but your children’s as well? Do you think that you should be able to get your medical records when you want them? [b]**AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~[/b]
17 people like this
58 responses
@celticeagle (156425)
• Boise, Idaho
31 Oct 09
The reason for this is that doctor and most medical staff write in a sort of code that is hard to understand and the jargin they use is not something the lay person should read. They really try to get you not to have any acsess to your file because of this. This was explained to me many years ago. I went ahead and got mine and there was little I had a problem understanding. Yes, my doctor would give them to me. Yes, I think you should get your record when you want them and you should be adviced much more tactfully than you have been as to why they are not reccomended to be seen by the lay person.
@leenie50 (3992)
• United States
31 Oct 09
Celtic, Most doctors today put your records directly into the computer. It's pure laziness on the part of the office staff. Everyone is entitled to their own records.
4 people like this
@celticeagle (156425)
• Boise, Idaho
1 Nov 09
Yes, and a hard copy can be printed out.
• India
1 Nov 09
ya, I agree with you
1 person likes this
@laydee (12798)
• Philippines
31 Oct 09
I don't think it's a secret whatsoever, you could easily ask you doctor what he thinks and what you have when you consult him. I belong to a family of doctors and medical practitioners and it isn't a 'secret' for the medical records to be shown to the patient. It's that most of the scribbles there are only understood by the doctor himself. Similarly, we do keep the original copy of the medical or laboratories done but we discourage people from taking the original copy because of the probability of them losing it. Further, it's the doctor's copy so as when you come back he'll have a reference of what happened to you and you won't need to tell him everything from the beginning. Though there are times when a company or due to some legalities, the doctors are asked to create a medical report, that's solely for the purpose that was needed by the company. Anyhow, we do give copies if the patient wants it, but all in all, they wouldn't understand it anyhow. I guess it's different though for psychological patients or psychiatric patients, I think the doctors won't really give you those because you may not understand or have a different understanding of what they scribbled there about you.
5 people like this
• Philippines
1 Nov 09
Well, I think this explains everything. Thanks a lot for the information.
• United States
31 Oct 09
i would check that somehow-that doesn't sound right. i had always heard you have the right to demand your records at anytime-HIPAA should only pertain to asking for records of other people,not your own. almost sounds like they're afraid you're going to sue them.
4 people like this
@writersedge (22563)
• United States
31 Oct 09
I have no problem getting my records. My Doctor copies them and gives them to me right in front of me. He prefers that I have them and hand deliver them, he doesn't trust a fax, computers, or the mail. He doesn't want to be sued. He's known me since the 1980s. Now my eye dr., that is a different matter. I would need to produce fingerprints and prove who I was. He's worried about giving my folder to the wrong person and getting sued by the right one. The 1st Dr. is a simple country dr. The second one is part of a big corporation and my eye dr. there changes all the time. I could walk in and say I was anybody. The new laws make it so that people can be sued, so if they can't prove who the person they're giving the files to beyond a shadow of a doubt, they won't give them to someone. Drs., Lawyers, and Caseworkers in most states have their prints and likenesses on file. So do I, many times over. Now I had a psychological done by the state once, and they refused to give it to me, so I went to an Independent Living Center and they fought for me to get it. But you could see where it had been cut and pasted, tempered with. So I requested the entire thing. The Psych who evaluated me and written some unprofessional things in it and she was trying to cover her butt. She had written stuff about my family that I hadn't told her based on years ago.They had told me that the test results might upset me if I didn't understand them. I have a learning disability that ranges from mild to one point that is severe. I end up in the mentally retarded stanine for some eye-to-hand coordination tests. I understood that and while I wasn't happy that I'm worse than my brother who is mentally disabled for eye-to-hand coordination, sometimes, it was a shock, but it explains why I hate puzzles and small motor tasks. The shock was momentary. The understanding was forever. I had taken the same classes as the Psychs to understand IQ and other tests (Psychs and Teachers are often in the same or similar classes for interpreting test information). So I argued that I have the education to understand it. A friend of mine got her file and they had left out details. "Patient appears hysterical." She was angry because, "Patient had been just told she had terminal cancer with 0% possibility of remission."-That was NOT in her folder. So what to _______ would your reaction be? But that wasn't in the file. When they don't want to give you something, it's A. They are afraid of being sued or B. They were unprofessional, but they will tell you C. That you might get upset at what you read. OK, you might get upset. But is it because they didn't tell you something? Did they write it unprofessionally? Did they leave out parts that would explain your behavior? I've experienced two and my friend has experienced a third of those. I would ask them point-blank, what exactly is your problem with giving me my own files?
@writersedge (22563)
• United States
31 Oct 09
I know, you asked them point blank, but the HEPPA Law interpretation doesn't make any sense to me.
@ZephyrSun (7381)
• United States
31 Oct 09
That's really strange, I've never had a problem requesting medical records for myself or my children. I have had to pay for them, the most I ever paid was $40 per child but, that was it.
4 people like this
@mommaj (23155)
• United States
31 Oct 09
Unfortunately, this is common pratice. Thank our government. You can't know about yourself, God only knows what you might do with that information. As long as another professional asks for it, it's perfectly okay for them to see it. This is what our privacy laws have done for us. I felt better knowing I was the only one getting my info. instead of doctors or lawyers that have a "signed" document. If you have a fax machine they are a little happier about sending the paperwork to you. Goodluck.
5 people like this
@Thoroughrob (11742)
• United States
31 Oct 09
I know it is crazy. Once the school therapist wanted my son's records from a doctor and when we called they wanted $7 a page. I said something to the doctor and she started giving them to me before I left the office.
2 people like this
• United States
31 Oct 09
That does not seem right. A year or so ago I went to the hospital which I use for emergencies, mammograms, surgery, etc., etc. and immediately got copies of all my records and it did not cost a cent.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Oct 09
I just checked HIPAA and you ARE entitled to a copy of your own Medical Files: How do I get access to my own medical records? [b] HIPAA requires health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouse to allow you access to your medical records.[/b] Notices you receive from providers and plans must include information about how you can obtain copies of your medical records. In addition to HIPAA, about half the states have laws that allow patients or their designated representatives to access medical records. Laws usually allow health care facilities to charge a "reasonable" fee for copying records. If you receive care in a federal medical facility, you have a right to obtain your records under the federal Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC sec. 552a, http://www.usdoj.gov/opcl/privacyact1974.htm) We advise that you make your request in writing. For a sample letter, see www.privacyrights.org/Letters/medical2.htm. If you are denied access, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Civil Rights. (Contact information is provided at the end of this guide). Your state's medical privacy law might also enable you to file a complaint with state regulators.http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8-med.htm#E
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
31 Oct 09
That would make me furious! I would go to a lawyer, but not to get the records. I'd hire him or her on a contingency basis for damages related to violating my right to my own information. If I could, that is. I've never had a problem with that. When I moved to another state my doctor copied all my records and gave them to me at no charge. I've also been able to obtain x-rays and test results from every doctor I've ever been to. I think you'd better change doctors or else threaten a lawsuit. Read the HIPA carefully, it's been a long time since I did so but I don't think it restricts you from getting your own information.
2 people like this
@Hatley (163781)
• Garden Grove, California
31 Oct 09
hi twoey68 here in the US, in California anyway all you have to do to get your medical records for yourself is just fork over $45 dollars, and if you do not have it, tough luck. A doctor can get it from your old doctor, but you still must pay. This part I thinks stinks. why should I have to pay that much for records that are my medical history? I could see five or ten dollars but 45 dollars? why not free,the stuff on them belongs to me really.I think we should be given copies of our medical records when we need them, like going to a new doctor.
2 people like this
@zed_k4 (17589)
• Singapore
1 Nov 09
More or less the same; I had to pay around $50 before..
@ANTIQUELADY (36440)
• United States
31 Oct 09
SOUNDS like a crock to me. I ask for mine here while back & got them w/out any problem at all. I think they were giving u the run around for some reason.
4 people like this
@Opal26 (17679)
• United States
31 Oct 09
Hey twoey~ I'm not really sure how this works exactly. If I want a copy of my own medical records and I request them for my therapist, doctor or anyone else I'm pretty sure that I can get a copy including my psych records. I will have to check into this. I'm not sure if this is a law in all states. I have the belief that everyone is allowed to see all of their medical records if necessary if they are preparing for a hearing or medical case of some sort. I am getting ready to request for my own medical records right now so I will find out if that is true. I am going to have to change doctors since I have been forced to go on straight Medicaid because of some stupid rules of Disability laws and I am also asking for a hearing and I am demanding to see my own records including my psych records so I will find out if this is completely true. I am requesting the records from the company that represented me in getting my Disability Insurance and I want full disclosure of ALL the records that they received so I will see what they say!
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17589)
• Singapore
1 Nov 09
And sometimes trying to get and compile all the records can be pretty time consuming.. but have to be done, no choice..
@paula27661 (15811)
• Australia
31 Oct 09
Here in Australia I was under the impression that medical records belonged to the patient but reading your post is making me think again and I may have to look into that. I know that you can have your records transferred from one doctor to another and there is talk that the medical board may have medical records available for viewing online in the very near future.
3 people like this
@lynnemg (4529)
• United States
6 Dec 09
Recently, I needed to obtain my medical records from my previous doctor and specialist. I guess I was lucky because I had no problem getting them. The only glitch I hit was when I requested my surgical records. That was merely due to the fact that the record keeper wanted to be sure I needed all of my records. The only place that even mentioned charging me for my records was the surgeon. As far as I know, we have the right to have copies of any paper that has our name on it. Yes, we can be charged for the copies, but we are entitled to have them upon request. Some doctor's offices try to avoid releasing records to patients, but the bottom line is, we are legally entitled to have them upon request. The HIPPA laws require that the person proves identity and personally sign a request form. In my case, the forms were faxed to me and I faxed them back to the doctor's offices. I think it is crazy that people should have to jump through hoops to obtain information about themselves. If you have not obtained your records, you mat want to try again. They cannot legally keep those records from you.
1 person likes this
@firemom31 (598)
• United States
1 Nov 09
I work in a medical office, and I will tell you that you do have the right to have copies of your medical record. Most offices don't want the hassle of seeking out archived records and spending the time to copy yuor chart, contrary to what most think, in many offices some is on computer but not all. They charge outrageous fees to keep you from asking for them. The only inof that is limited is psychiatric, and that is based on the theory that reading your own psych info might cause you psychological harm. If they will not give you your own records, report them
1 person likes this
@saundyl (9783)
• Canada
9 Nov 09
I have a copy of mine. The dr that requested them made me a copy after i signed the forms to get them transferred from the other clinic. We were looking for the name of my issue and once we found it he made me copies of everything and highlighted the area of the records. I think everyone should be allowed a copy of their health records - that way if you need a record of medications some day you arent having toc hase all over to every dr you went to to find out what mgiht or might have caused problems down the line
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32191)
• United States
1 Nov 09
I was under the impression that while it may cost, you could get your medical records just as easily as a doctor's office you allowed to, to get them. One year, I needed to transfer doctor's, and this has been a few years, but they gave me said records and I took them with me to the new doctor's office. It is sad that we have to go through such a struggle now. Wait, twoey, where are you? Maybe it's different from country, or even state.
1 person likes this
@nadooa247 (1096)
• United States
1 Nov 09
It happened to me and it pissed me off big time. Im in the chicago-land area, and here's what happened with me. I was pregnant at the time and my doctor left the clinic she works at to go to another one apparently the people working there were pissed i suppose and made it hell for a person to get their records. At first when i requested my records i got the same thing, pay up and you get a copy. I said fine and was about to ask how much but was told to come tomorrow because the person in charge of records wasnt there. Okay no problemo i said, any other way i could get them? They said ask your doctor to call and we'll fax it.. now here is where it gets real crappy. They refused to fax anyone's records that was seeing the doctor that was in their clinic! So, basically.. 7 months pregnant and the clinic my doc was at were acting like a bunch of thugs. Due to that i cant get registered at my doc's new office since i have no file.. She continues to see me until finally she and i gather information from my own personal docs that i have and tests she runs to gather new info on my medical history. Sucked hard core. They played the doctor/lawyer card.. then they saw people were doing jus that and kept giving excuses to not give anyone their medical records. If i had the money i would have sued them for this. I have a right to my own information, to keep my file as a feeble attempt of thugary in order to FORCE me to stay with them is just plain low! Me and like 20+ others had the same crappy experience. Well since i was pregnant at the time i do consider that i was denied my child's medical records as well. I was beyond pissed of i was STEAMING mad. Not a good place to be when 7 months prego entering month 8. Question: Is there a way that a person can report such crap? If there isn't there should be some hotline or something to call and report such things. Getting denied your medical information because some stupid place is mad about losing customers.. yeah i said it.. not patients customers. We are money banks to them! lol There also should be a way for a person to get their own dang files! Seriously, a fee is reasonable... to get your transcripts at your university you pay a fee.. makes sense. But, to be told you have to get a 3rd party involved... what if you are leaving the state... and dont want to wait till your new doctor has the time to request info... they might give him/her a hard time and say they cant because they have no proof that he/she is really your doctor.. same with the lawyer thing. Basically either way you arent getting your records without a major headache.
1 person likes this
@scififan43 (2434)
• United States
25 Nov 09
I feel like you that the paient should have the right to his or her own med records. this sounds ricdulous that a paient can be denied that. I am not familar with the law that you speak of but it seems to me that there is something funny going on at the docs office. but I rarely get sick and I hardly ever see the doctor so it has not been an issure for me.
• United States
1 Nov 09
Stay away from doctors and lawyers --problem solved. Sounds simple; sometimes that is hard to do, but the bottom line is this 1. Opt for holistic healing, natural remedies, and opt for keeping yourself away from the professionals who make records and then can not release them to the patient. This is a human's option. This is a human's choice.