They are my medical records; so why are they so hard to recover?

28 Apr

Co-authored post Dee Dee and Stephanie

I am not a skeptic-honestly!  However, my experience leads me to believe the current system is inefficient.

I live seasonally in two different states which makes it necessary to keep my medical records current. To avoid adverse drug reactions from polypharmacy I need share copies of my records with each of the multi-prescribing physicians across the miles.

I sent two letters in writing with my signature, ID and specific instructions of which records I was requesting to which doctors I wanted copies sent. Letters were signed for since I sent them certified/return receipt. However, we never heard or received the copies I requested for my own personal records.

. How do I request copies of my records?

Typically you should be able to write a letter to your doctor including the following (excerpts from “How to Request Your Medical Records”:

  • your name, including your maiden name (if applicable)
  • Social Security number/ID number
  • date of birth
  • address and phone number
  • e-mail address
  • record(s) being requested
  • date(s) of service (months and years under the doctor’s care)
  • signature
  • delivery option (whether you prefer to pick up, fax, e-mail, etc.)
  • make a point to request a copy of your records at each doctor’s visit.
  • note: there may be a per page copy fee charged (e.g., $0.75 a page). If you have financial limitations and cannot afford to pay for copies of your medical records, make a notation in your request letter that ‘I cannot afford to pay’.
  • NOTE: Diagnostic lab test records, for such tests as blood tests, CT scans, x-rays, mammograms or others, should be requested from the doctor who ordered them, or your primary care physician. In most states, the lab will not provide them to you directly.

So why then did it take a trip to see the doctor and a visit to the hospital to get copies of my records?

1. Medical office staff are in inundated with work
2. There is a per page copy fee
3. You may not have been specific enough about which records you need released. There may be too many notes in your file to send the entire record along to another doctor.
4. You need to call or visit the office in follow-up to your written request.

Although EMR (electronic medical records) are gaining in popularity and availability in both doctor’s office and hospitals, there are still many flaws in the system. In my experience, the best method for obtaining and keeping your records is to request a copy at the time of each office visit and/or hospital stay.

God’s blessings,
Dee Dee & Stephanie

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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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