What are the three fool-proof steps that you must take to get all of your medical records from a doctor or hospital in Kingston, NewYork?

There are three foolproof steps that you should take to guarantee that you get all of your medical records from a doctor or hospital. 

Number One: The language on the release authorization must specifically identify the records that you want.  It is simply poor practice to ask for "all of the records". The more specific and detailed your request the more likely that you will get the records you want.

Number Two:  The release authorization should request that the medical records administrator identify any record withheld with sufficient particularity to support a further effort to get full disclosure should you believe it is necessary.

The medical records administrator should be asked to warrant under oath that all requested records have been fully disclosed or identified as withheld.  Instead of asking the administrator to prepare his/her own oath (they will never do that), you should provide them with your oath and ask them to sign it under oath.  This request may be ignored and there are no ramifications if it is.  But at least you have alerted the hospital administrator that you are aware of the potential problem of the hospital or doctor failing to provide the requested medical records.

Number Three:  The only way to be truly certain that you receive all of the medical records is to go to the hospital or doctor's office and review the original chart.  This is known as an "original chart review" and it is specifically authorized by section 18 of the Public Health Law of New York.

Some hospitals, i.e., Kingston Hospital, will tell you that they don't allow original chart reviews.  What they are really telling you is that they don't know the law and they want you to go away.  Don't put up with such ignorance! 

When this happens (and it will), ask to speak with the head of the medical records department.  If that person stonewalls you, go up the chain of command at the hospital even further. If that fails, tell the administrator that you intend to file a complaint with the New York State Department of Health and the federal Office of Civil Rights based upon its failure to comply with the law.  It is a virtual certainty that you will have your "original chart review" if you follow these steps.

If you already have a copy of the medical records and you want to make sure the hospital or doctor sent you all of the records, you should ask for an original chart review.  At the original chart review, you can compare your copy of the records to the original chart to ensure you have all of the records.  There is no better way to make sure that you have all of your medical records than an original chart review.

What you can do if you have questions

If you have any questions, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can send me an e-mail at [email protected] .  You are always welcome to request a FREE copy of my book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.