YES, YOU DO HAVE A RIGHT TO YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS
PART II: Physical Inspection of Records Within 5 Working Days
In the original post, I discussed that you actually have multiple laws that entitle you to your medical records. If you live in California, for example, you may have heard of “PAHRA” (the Patient Access to Health Records Act), which is a state law designed to provide “access to health care records or summaries of those records by patients and by those persons having responsibility for decisions respecting the health care of others”.
The actual laws put into effect by PAHRA are “codified” (found) in the State of California’s Health and Safety Code, including Section 123110, among others. This “code section” has multiple parts detailing how doctors (or providers) are supposed to behave when you request your records. For example, subsection (a) states, in part:
“any adult patient of a health care provider, any minor patient authorized by law to consent to medical treatment, and any patient representative shall be entitled to inspect patient records upon presenting to the health care provider a written request for those records and upon payment of reasonable clerical costs incurred in locating and making the records available….
A health care provider shall permit this inspection during business hours within five working days after receipt of the written request.
The inspection shall be conducted by the patient or patient’s representative requesting the inspection, who may be accompanied by one other person of his or her choosing.”
This means that a patient is entitled to inspect his/her records after paying for the cost of finding and making the records available. The cost must be reasonable and of a clerical nature. The patient’s records may be inspected by up to two people, the patient or a representative, and one other person if elected.
The patient must be allowed this inspection “WITHIN FIVE WORKING DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE WRITTEN REQUEST” for the inspection. Health & Safety Code, Section 123110(a) (emphasis added).
There are also many other sources of law dealing with your rights to access your own medical records. As stated in my last post, the rights you have, and the way(s) you can enforce those rights, can vary based on your particular circumstances, so if you have any questions, or have encountered difficulties obtaining your records, you should contact an attorney for individualized advice.
(The above is being provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute, nor substitute for, personalized legal advice.)