The Privacy Rule is in place to provide you the individual with certain rights regarding your access to your own medical records. There are just a few exceptions, but you can receive a copy of your medical records, review them and make changes in any errors. Any health care plan or provider who is covered by the Privacy Rule has to give you access to your medical records and your billing records if you request them.
Who Can Access Medical Records?
You have the right to access your medical records and you can also have a personal representative who can access them. A health plan or provider can send you a copy of your records to another health provider or plan if it is deemed necessary for medical treatment. However, under the Privacy Rule a provider or plan doesn’t have to share information with other health plans or providers.
Can providers charge me for a copy of my health records?
A provider cannot charge specifically for obtaining copies of medical records. They may charge a fee for copying or mailing the records to you though. They cannot keep your records from you simply because you didn’t pay for your medical services and they are not allowed to charge you a fee just for searching for or obtaining the records.
What about psychotherapy notes?
You do not have access to psychotherapy notes. These types of notes are usually taken during conversations with mental health professionals and they are stored separate from other medical records. The Privacy Rule does not cover psychotherapy notes and it does not require a provider to disclose notes to an individual.
What if I find a mistake in my medical notes?
If you think there is erroneous information in medical or billing records you can make a request to the health care provider and ask them to correct the records. A health care provider must respond to such requests. The information must be amended so that it is accurate and complete. However, if the provider does not agree that there is a mistake, they do not have to change it. You can submit a statement that points out the discrepancy which has to be added to your records.