When a doctor’s practice closes, patients often wonder how to get their medical records. There are several steps that should be taken to ensure that the patient receives their medical records in a timely manner.
The first step is to determine if the records are still on file at the medical practice or lab. If not, the patient should make a request.
1. Ask Your Insurance Company
When a doctor closes their practice, it is important for patients and family members to know how to obtain medical records from that closed practice. This can be especially challenging when the doctor doesn’t have an electronic health record (EHR) system.
If you are looking for a way to get your medical records from a closed practice, you should first contact your insurance company. Under HIPAA, they must give you a copy of your medical records within 30 days of your request.
If your provider denies you access to your records, they must explain why and give you a chance to appeal their decision. In New York, for instance, you can ask the state Medical Records Access Review Committee to review your request and determine if your records should be made available.
2. Contact the State Medical Association
Many independent practices close for a variety of reasons. They merge with a larger practice or health system, retire, sell their practice, file for bankruptcy, or get sick and die.
In the event that your doctor’s practice closes, it is important to understand how to get your medical records. These records may include your health history, lab reports, x-rays, discharge instructions, and corresponding reports.
Your physician should give you a written notice explaining your right to access these records. This letter should outline how to obtain copies and include the contact information for future requests.
You should also be aware that the length of time that your physician must retain your medical records is governed by state law. For example, adults’ records must be retained for ten years after the date of last treatment and minors’ records for 28 years from the date of birth.
3. Contact the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services
There are several steps to getting your medical records when your doctor’s practice closes down. Most medical practices will provide you with a request form to fill out, or you may call the office and ask for a copy of your health record.
In most cases, state laws require the provider to fulfill your request within 30 to 60 days. Once the provider receives your request, they should send it to you via fax or postal service, or by email.
If you haven’t received your medical records within the prescribed time frame, check with the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to see if your state has an authority to assist you with getting your records.
It is also possible that you can get copies of your medical records by contacting the local county office or hospital facility where your doctor worked. They should be able to assist you with getting your records, but you will need to provide them with your ID or other information required for access to your health record.
4. Contact the State Attorney General
If your doctor’s office is closed, you should consult with the State Attorney General for help with obtaining medical records. The State Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the public information act.
Texas law requires that physicians keep their records for seven years after the last treatment. This includes medical records that may be needed in the event of future visits.
Individuals can contact their primary care physician and any other members of their care team who may have retained copies of these records in order to determine whether they have been transferred to another practice.
They should also call their insurance company to inquire about coverage for medical records.
Individuals can also request their medical records from a third party, such as a family member, legal guardian, patient advocate, or attorney. However, these individuals should have written permission from the patient to obtain these records.