Your medical records provide a history of your health, keeping track of injuries and illnesses you have suffered, as well as treatments you have received. In addition to providing valuable information to your doctors, your medical record can serve as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit, particularly if your injuries required extensive medical treatment and physical therapy.
Whatever your reason for needing your medical records, it’s important that you understand the process of obtaining these documents and your legal rights. Find out how you can obtain your medical records and learn about the different laws that regulate your rights to these important documents.
HIPAA and Medical Records
Under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, more commonly known as HIPAA, people have right to obtain their medical records. However, like most laws, there are certain exceptions to HIPAA of which you need to be aware.
As outlined by HIPAA, you have the right to request a copy of your personal medical records. You may also access someone else’s medical records if they give you written permission. This is common when you’re acting on the behalf of an elderly relative or another person who cannot request their records themselves.
If you’ve been designated the legal guardian of another adult, HIPAA also allows you to access the medical records. Parents can usually obtain a copy of their children’s medical records. Finally, it may be possible to get a copy of a deceased person’s records if they are needed to settle a legal issue related to their estate.
Types of Medical Records
While HIPAA grants you the ability to get copies of your medical records and view your original records, certain healthcare providers are allowed to deny your request if they so desire.
Psychotherapists, for example, can reject your request. In Tennessee, psychologists and psychiatrists also have this ability. If your medical provider is gathering information for a lawsuit, you may also be denied a copy of your medical records. Finally, if your medical provider has a reasonable belief that giving you a copy of your medical records may cause you to harm yourself or another person, they can withhold your records.
Rules for Tennessee
In the State of Tennessee, medical records are considered to be the property of the hospital or doctor’s office. If you want a copy of your medical records, you will need to submit a written request, and if they request is denied, your only option is to seek a court order for the release of your records.
There are certain circumstances where medical records will not be released in the state of Tennessee. For instance, when a patient is in a state-run facility, their medical records are confidential. Similarly, if a patient’s care is paid for by the state, their medical records are also confidential.
Request Your Medical Records
If you’re having trouble obtaining your medical records, or need help using your medical records to plan a personal injury lawsuit, you need to get help from the attorneys at Mitch Grissim & Associates. After your medical records request has been denied we can help you work towards a court order, and we also know the right way to use medical records for personal injury lawsuits. Contact us today.