Have you ever needed to access your medical records? Not for any specific reason, just to see them, see what’s in them, and maybe to make sure they are correct? Did you ever wonder HOW you access your medical records?

As an FYI, the Privacy Rule give you, with few exceptions, the right to inspect, review and receive a copy of your medical and billing records that are held by health plans and health care providers that are covered by the Privacy Rule.

How to Access Your Medical Records

Only your or someone you have personally designated in writing has the right to access your records. A health care provider or health plan may send copies of your records to another provider or health plan as needed for treatment or payment or as authorized by you. However, the Privacy Rule does not require the health care provider or health plan to share information with other providers or plans.

What if You Owe Money?

A provider cannot deny you a copy of your medical records because you have not paid for the services you have received. Still, a provider may charge you for the reasonable cost for copying and mailing records, or providing them for you on a jump drive or DVD. They cannot charge you a fee for searching or retrieving your records from an off-site location.

Correcting Information

If you think the information in your medical recird or billing record is incorrect, you can request that the health care provider or health plan amend the record. They MUST respond to your request. It it created the information, they are responsible for amending the information if it is inaccurate or incomplete. If the provider or plan does not agree to your request, you have the right to submit of statement of disagreement that the provider or plan must add the proper information to your record.

For further information, refer to the HHS.gov site, 45 C.F.R. 164.508, 164.524 and 164.526, and the OCR’s FAQ page.