You are here: Home Managing Your ... Medical Records ... What Do I Do If I Am ...
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

What Do I Do If I Am Denied Access To My Medical Records?

Next » « Previous


It may be useful to find out from the doctor or a staff member why there is a reluctance to provide the requested information. If you know the "why," it becomes easier to figure out how to get what you want -- especially when you keep in mind that you have a legal right to the records.

For instance, there are times when a doctor or institution deny a patient access to his or her own medical record on the basis that seeing the records could be harmful to the patient. If this happens to you, ask that a copy be given to another doctor who doesn't have a problem giving them to you, or to a representative of yours. The doctor or institution is then off the hook. You can then get the copy from the cooperative doctor or from your representative.

In the event that your request is ignored or denied, the following are useful tools with which to fix the situation. 

  • Confirm that your request has been submitted to the correct person. If so, you can ask for a supervisor or the office manager. If that doesn't help, you can write a letter to the doctor or medical institution which:
    • S tates that you requested your records on the specific date you made the request. Include the name of the person to whom you made the request if you know it.
    • Ask why the records are not being made available.
    • Request the response in writing.
    • Set a deadline to receive a response, such as a week from the date of your letter.
    • If you have an attorney, note on your letter that you are sending a copy to the attorney. An effective way to do this without being obnoxious is to type below your signature: cc: Michael Novin, Esq.
    • Make a copy of the letter for yourself before sending.
    • Send the letter in a manner that provides a receipt (for example, Overnight mail, or US Mail, Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested) or have it hand delivered.
  • If your records are held by a doctor: Consider asking another doctor to request the medical records who will then give you a copy. Doctors are sometimes more willing to share information with another medical professional. The rules of the American Medical Association obligate a doctor to transfer records to another doctor at the patient's request.
  • If your records are held by a hospital:
    • If you are in the hospital:
      • You can refuse to consent to further treatment until you see your records. And/or
      • Complain to the hospital's patient representative or head administrator.
      • The hospital ethics committee may also be able to help.
    • If you are discharged from the hospital: Complain to the highest level administrator you can access -- including the head of the hospital. The higher you go, the more likely you will be to get your records.
  • If the above suggestions fail:
    • Contact your state's attorney general, Office of Consumer Affairs or Department of Health.
    • Also complain to the state medical board which licenses doctors.
    • Complain to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS conducts investigations and attempts to resolve problems like this. A penalty of $100 - $25,000 penalty per year for each standard violated can be imposed. You'll find the complaint form at offsite link or call 800.368.1019

As a last result you may wish to consult an attorney to enforce your rights.

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.