2016-HHS Guidelines – Patient Access to Records

Back in the day, a person stayed with one doctor for many years.  Now, with changes in insurance and a transient population, changes in care providers is common.  Many times an Assisted Living resident may have a doctor they visit and then switch to a doctor that visits them.

It has become more important for patients to have access to their medical records so that they can share them with their new care-givers and doctors.

There was a dream of a national digital system for keeping records that would be accessible to any medical team.  Barriers appeared to block over-all access between providers and systems.  Now, patients want and need to keep their own medical records.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has issued new guidelines designed to make it easier for patients to access their medical records says Argentum (Formerly known as ALFA).

doctor-visitAccording to the guidelines, “doctors and hospitals can’t require patients to state a reason for requesting their records and can’t deny access because they believe a patient may be too upset by the information.”

The guidelines also say:

  • A health care provider can’t require patients to pick up their records in person if they ask to have them sent via mail or email, and can’t deny a request for access to health information if the patient has failed to pay medical bills.
  • A doctor or hospital may charge a fee for copying but can’t charge for the cost of searching for data and retrieving it.

Assisted Living Communities can encourage new residents, family members, the POA for Heath Care, to retrieve records for keeping and sharing with doctors.

Click here to learn more about the HHS HIPAA Law Guidelines.