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A letter to request medical records is a written document that asks a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or hospital, to provide copies of your medical records.
This letter includes information such as your name, date of birth, and the dates of the records you want to obtain.
To be effective you must explain the reason for the request, such as for personal records or to provide to a new healthcare provider.
Make sure you write the letter in a polite and professional tone.
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Getting your medical records from doctors or hospitals is very CHALLENGING, especially with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) in place. (Through its ‘Privacy Rule’ this law regulates the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) of individuals’ health information.)
But the good news is The Privacy Rule requires health providers to give you access to your medical records if you ask for them in writing.
And they have 30 days to give you a copy.
You can choose to get it electronically or hardcopy.
It is from that angle that a Letter to request medical records holds water.
To help you sail through the processes, here I will guide on;
- What is a Letter to request medical records?
- Things to consider before writing your letter.
- How to write an effective letter to request medical records
- Letter to request medical records sample
- Letter to request medical records FAQs
Let’s get started
Jump to section
- What is Letter to request medical records?
- Things to consider before writing a Letter to request medical records
- Make sure you don’t have a pending treatment
- Remember the Online Portal
- Check the provider’s Website
- A phone call may be enough
- Pay physical visits
- How to write an effective letter to request medical records
- Sample letter to request medical records
- Letter to request medical records pdf
- Can I request medical records for my dependents?
- How much does it cost to obtain my medical records?
- How long does it take to receive the medical records?
What is Letter to request medical records?
A letter to request medical records is a brief statement of facts written by an individual or his legal representative to request specific medical information from doctors or medical providers.
To write an effective letter, make sure you specify the relevant medical records you need plus the dates of service.
If you have been hospitalized for suffering from broken ribs, a broken femur, and a closed head injury as a result of a car crash, then in your letter you must specify which records you do you need regarding your medical condition-x-rays, treatment plans, nurses’ notes, etc.
Be specific as much as you can.
This will help you receive the correct records on time.
Key takeaway: By Specifying the relevant medical records you need with details such as the type of records and dates of service, will help you receive the correct records on time.
Things to consider before writing a Letter to request medical records
The following are the important things to consider before writing your medical records request letter.
Make sure you don’t have a pending treatment
The best time to request your medical records is when you no longer receiving medical care.
It is important to request your medical records as soon as possible after your medical care has ended to ensure that you have all the necessary information in case you need it in the future.
If you were injured in an accident and need to file a claim with your insurance company, having access to your complete medical record can help support your case and ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation.
Also, if you need to file a lawsuit, having a complete medical record can provide valuable evidence in your case.
Key Takeaway: It is important to request your medical records as soon as possible after your medical care has ended, as having access to your complete medical record can be valuable in future situations such as filing an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Remember the Online Portal
Before bothering yourself with letters, you should first check if your healthcare providers have an online patient portal where you can get the records you are looking for.
A patient portal is a protected platform where you may often book appointments, contact clinicians, and view lab results.
Some of your health information, such as a list of immunizations, may be accessible via the patient portal.
If the health information you require is not available through the patient portal, or if your provider does not have an online patient portal, then you may consider writing a request.
But before doing that, here is another thing to consider
Check the provider’s Website
If you’re looking to request your medical records, your health provider’s website can be a good place to start.
On the provider’s website, you may find information on how to register for an account, how to access your medical records, and how to request copies of specific documents.
Some providers may even allow you to submit your request for medical records directly through their online portal, making the process quick and convenient.
By taking advantage of your provider’s online resources, you can streamline the process of requesting your medical records and ensure that you have access to the information you need for your personal use.
So it is better to check it out before hitting them with your white paper.
Key Takeaway: Check your provider’s website first before writing your letter, as it may have valuable information and options available to you.
A phone call may be enough
You can also obtain your health record by calling or visiting your provider and asking them how to do so.
Most providers have administrative teams or departments that handle releasing medical records or providing health information services.
You can typically find the contact information for these teams on the provider’s website or by calling the provider’s main office.
Once you have located the appropriate contact information, you can call or visit the provider to request your health record.
The administrative team or department will guide you through the process, which may involve filling out a request form or providing some form of identification.
Pay physical visits
This may be better than a phone call.
Since you are no longer sick it is better to visit your medical provider and pose your request verbally.
Here you will have ample time to discuss all possible options to get your medical records.
Key Takeaway: You can get your medical records by contacting your provider’s administrative team or department by phone or in person.
Now you have considered everything, and find that you still need to write a letter
Here is how you can do it effectively
How to write an effective letter to request medical records
A letter to request medical records is written in a business letter format. Begin your letter with your address and contact information, followed by a date and the medical provider’s address, and state that you are writing to request your medical records and provide the details of the records you need.
Finish your letter with SINCERELY followed by your name and signature.
REMEMBER the aim of your request letter is to get your medical records from your medical provider.
The following is how you can write an effective letter to request medical records
- Provide your name, address, and contact information
- Include the date of the letter
- Include the recipient’s name, address, and contact information
- Provide the medical identification number or other identifier used
- Describe what was the issue
- Describe the service/treatment received
- Provide the service start and end date
- Specify what medical records you want
- Make reference to governing law(s)
- Provide how you expect to receive the records
- Specify when you expect to receive the records
- Be concise and to the point
- Maintain a professional tone
- Be honest
Sample letter to request medical records
The following is a sample letter to request medical records from doctors
City, State, Zip Code
[Recipient’s Street Address]
[Recipient’s City, State, and Zip Code]
Re: Request for Medical records
Dear [Recipient’s last name]
I’m writing this letter to request my medical records as allowed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Department of Health and Human Services regulations.
I was treated at your hospital for [name of disease-optional] from [start date] to [end date]. Therefore I request copies of the following records
- physician and nurses’ notes
- test results
- You list them
Or you may simply say I request all records relating to my treatment
Please send the requested records to the aforementioned address.
I understand that you might charge a “fair” cost for copying the records but not for the time spent locating the records.
I expect to receive the above records within thirty days (30), as required by HIPAA. If my request cannot be fulfilled within thirty days, please notify me in writing and specify a date by which I can expect to get my records.
Letter to request medical records pdf
Can I request medical records for my dependents?
YES, it is possible to request medical records for your dependents.
Since the law allows you to make healthcare decisions for your dependents, you usually have access to their medical records.
The good news is HIPAA Privacy rule allows individuals to request in writing that their PHI be delivered to a third party.
It is through that window that a person may be able to access the medical records of his dependent or any other person after proper authorization.
It is important to know that hospitals are prohibited to disclose medical information about admitted patients over the phone to relatives or friends who call in to ask about them.
Key Takeaway: A personal representative can request medical records for his or her dependents
How much does it cost to obtain my medical records?
In fact, HIPAA allows medical providers to charge a reasonable amount for copying costs.
However, no charge is allowable when providing data electronically from a certified electronic health record.
But HIPAA didn’t set the actual copying costs, therefore it varies from one medical provider to another.
According to this survey conducted in 73 hospitals in Boston, copying fees range very widely, from $2-55 for short records of 15 pages to $15-585 for long ones of 500 pages.
To sort things out I advise you to ask your provider how much it will cost to obtain your health records.
If you require more than one copy, inquire with your provider about the cost of each duplicate and determine whether you will create the copy yourself or have your provider do it for you.
Key Takeaway: It is free to obtain your medical record in electronic form. For hardcopy, the cost varies from one hospital to another.
How long does it take to receive the medical records?
The HIPAA Privacy Rule allows your healthcare provider up to 30 days to deliver your health record.
If you selected a certain delivery date, however, you may receive your record sooner.
If your provider requires more than 30 days, they must provide you with an explanation for the delay as well as a new delivery date.
If you request that information be given to another person (a third party), you must complete a separate “authorization” form, and the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not impose any timelines for providers to respond.
That is according to the law.
What does the practice say?
Here I will refer back to the above survey.
Where it was revealed that the actual time to receive a copy of your medical records ranges widely, from 1–30 days (or longer for off-site records).
Key takeaway: It takes up to 30 days to get your medical records.
For more insights about how you can obtain your medical record visit healthit.gov
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