Who Can Request Your Medical Records
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which was passed by Congress in 1996, specifies who has access to your medical records and personal health information. Access to your own personal medical records is guaranteed under HIPAA privacy rights. This law set limits on the use and release of medical records, and established a series of privacy standards which inform healthcare providers about how to provide privacy and access to patient’s medical records.
Under HIPAA, a patient, the patient’s parent or guardian, or someone with written permission from the patient can request medical records.
In some cases people other than those who you designate can access your medical records or parts of your medical records.
The other groups that can sometimes access your health records are
- Employers, life insurers, and some school districts can view some records.
- Government agencies such as Medicare or the Social Security Administration may have authorization to examine your medical records for purposes of establishing eligibility for certain programs.
- Your electronic patient records can be released if ordered by a court or by health agencies or law enforcement agencies with a valid subpoena or legal order, and may be required in certain situations. In most states, medical records showing treatment for gunshot wounds, for medical treatment related to sexual attacks, and for cases where domestic violence is suspected, must be submitted to the proper authorities.
- Your healthcare providers may also release medical records without your written authorization in the following circumstances, among others: to insurance companies for purposes of processing health insurance coverage; to professional societies and research organizations who are reviewing health care providers or doing medical research; to employers if they are evaluating workers compensation claims.