It is often necessary when commencing a medical malpractice case that you have access to your medical records. The reason for this is that they are often necessary as evidence in proving your claim. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and other New York laws, patients have the right to obtain their medical records at their request. In New York, as soon as a patient sends a written request to their health care provider, requesting that they see and receive a copy of their medical records, the health care provider must allow the patient to see their records within then days. If you request a copy of your medical records, the copy must be provided within a reasonable time. Physicians and institutions can charge for the copies, however the charges cannot exceed 75 cents a page plus postage.
Even though a hospital, clinic, or physicians owns all medical records in its possession, a patient has the right to gain access to the information in the records. There are some third parties that can gain access to a patient’s medical records. Such third parties include parents or guardians, subsequent treating physicians, attorneys representing the patient, and other interested parties if they have a subpoena or court order. Normally, in order for third parties to access a patient’s medical records, the patient needs to give their consent.
It may be necessary for you to contact more than one hospital, clinic, or physician to obtain all of your medical records, regardless of whether they are relevant to the injury that is claimed in your medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical records not directly relevant to the injury can help to establish your health prior to the injury.
In New York, a patient can be denied access to certain parts of their medical records. Such information includes:
- The personal notes and observations of the physician,
- Information that was disclosed under the expectation that would remain confidential,
- Information that could cause substantial harm to the patient or others,
- Information the practitioner believes should not be disclosed with regards to a minor’s treatment, and
- Records regarding a patient’s substance abuse program.
Additionally, if the information requested from one physician was obtained from another physician who is still practicing, that information should be obtained directly from the original physician. If a patient has been denied access to any or all of their medical records they can appeal the denial.
If you have been injured as the result of medical malpractice and are having difficulty obtaining copies to your medical records, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney for assistance.
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