You are here: Home Managing Your ... Medical Records ... Federal and State Laws ...
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Medical Records 101

Federal and State Laws With Respect To Ownership, Access, And Copies Of Medical Records

Next » « Previous


While the information contained in your record is technically yours, the medical institution or doctor owns the medical record. Still, a variety of overlapping laws provide patients a right of access to, and to copy, their medical records. 

  • Federal laws and regulations
    • Regulations under the federal law known as HIPAA require that patients must be allowed access to their own medical records, and be given the ability to correct mistakes in the records. For an excellent analysis of the HIPAA rules, and how to enforce them, see Rights to Access Medical Records Under the HIPAA Privacy Regulation by Sonya Schwartz at offsite link.
    • Under Federal regulations, if you have been treated in a long-term care facility that accepts payment from Medicare or Medicaid, you are entitled to the records that facility has about you. 
    • If you are a Federal employee or a person treated in a Federal medical facility, you have a right to obtain medical records maintained by the government.
    • Residents of Nursing Homes: Any resident of a nursing home that participates in Medicare or Medicaid has a right to access their own medical records upon request, or upon request of the person's legal representative.
    • If you are enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care: You have a right to request and receive a copy of your medical records, and to ask that they be corrected.
  • State laws: Many states provide patients a right of access to medical records. Even in states where there is no statute, common law may give you a right to a copy of your records. The website offsite link provides free of charge, a summary of the laws for all fifty states. (Click on "State Law" then on "View The Summary of A Specific State.") Also see Georgetown University's Center on Medical Records Rights and Privacy which offers state-specific guides on accessing your medical records, offsite link.
  • The American Medical Association has a policy stating that doctors are obliged to provide a copy or record summary to a patient.

NOTE: Pychiatric Information: In some cases psychiatric information may be difficult to obtain. Generally, the law gives psychiatrists wide discretion to withhold information that may alarm or agitate a patient and cause his or her condition to deteriorate.

If you are not allowed access to your medical records, or given a copy, see What If I Am Denied Access To My Records?

Please share how this information is useful to you. 0 Comments


Post a Comment Have something to add to this topic? Contact Us.

Characters remaining:

  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
    All other tags will be stripped.