It can be very useful to have a copy of your own records, but how do you access your medical records? Getting a copy of your medical records from your doctor’s office or hospital may be a challenging task if you don’t know where to start.

So, here are 6 easy steps to getting a copy of your medical records:

1. Make a list. Write down a list of all the health care providers you need to get records from. Note what information you need from each of these health care providers such as medical history, test reports, x-rays, medical procedure reports, and others. This list will help keep you organized when reaching out to these different providers to get your medical files.

2. Get information. Start contacting the health care providers on your list and find out what documentation they specifically require in order to release your medical record to you. If they need you to fill out a form, make sure you know where to get a copy of it, or request that they send you one. Also, make sure they will be able to provide you with all the specific medical records you have listed in step 1.

3. Your rights. You may be denied access to some of your medical records, such as mental health records, if your provider believes if may endanger your health. Make sure you get a written note from your provider if you are denied access to your file for this reason. However, you have the right to get access to most of your records under the HIPAA act, so you may want to mention this when asking for your medical records.

4. Prepare and turn in. Prepare all the documentation and forms required for each health care provider. Either mail them or hand them over in person, depending on what each health care provider will accept.

5. Get more information. Find out how your health care providers will get your medical records to you or if you need to pick them up in person. Also check how much it will cost you. Doctors and hospitals may charge you a small fee for copying the records and tests such as x-rays may cost more. Health care providers are required to get you a copy of your medical records within a month, but double check when you can be expected to receive your copy.

6. Safety. After getting a copy of your medical records, be sure to keep them in a safe and secure place.

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