ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS IN CALIFORNIA NURSING HOMES IS A RIGHT
Are you having difficulty getting your records from a nursing home?
The patient and/or his/her relatives, in appropriate situations, have rights to inspect and copy their nursing home records. Knowing these rights will help you obtain the medical records.
Residents of nursing homes have the right to inspect their medical records within 24 hours of a request. See 42 C.F.R. § 483.10 (g)(2).
Residents may also obtain copies of their medical records. The facility has two business days to provide the resident with a copy of the records (all) after a request. Weekend days and holidays do not count. See 42 C.F.R. § 483.10 (g)(2)(ii).
The resident is responsible for the cost of making these copies, which cannot exceed .25 cents per page, (or 50 cents per page if copied from microfilm), and reasonable clerical costs. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123110(b).
If the medical records are maintained electronically by the facility, the resident also has the right to a copy in electronic form.
Authorized third parties also may have rights to obtain a copy of a resident’s medical records. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123105(e) gives a resident’s authorized representative the same access to the resident’s medical records as the resident. A resident’s representative can be a parent or guardian of a minor resident, the conservator of an adult resident, an agent under a power of attorney; or a beneficiary of an inheritance, will, or trust. A third party beneficiary of a resident has the right to access medical records of a deceased resident. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123105(e); Cal. Probate Code § 24.
A family member who is making medical care decisions on behalf of an impaired resident is included as a representative. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1599; 22 Cal. Code Regs. §72527(e).
Nursing home residents and/or their relatives, in appropriate circumstances, have an absolute right to inspect and copy their records.