A person’s medical records are an extremely important tool, both for keeping track of their health and potentially as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit. Medical records can also be important when visiting a new doctor or seeing a specialist for treatment of a complex condition.
While it’s usually easy to get copies of your medical records, there are a variety of laws related to these important documents, and learning about these laws is the best way to make sure you can get the records that you need. Here is some advice for getting medical records in Tennessee and information about some of the rules for receiving access to these documents.
Who Can Get Records?
Although there are also individual state regulations related to medical records, generally, these records are covered by the federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Under HIPAA, every person has a right to copies of their medical records. However, because there are a few circumstances where records can be withheld, it’s important to examine this issue a little more closely.
In addition to getting medical records for yourself, you may be able to obtain copies of someone else’s medical records if they have designated you as their representative or you have been appointed as their legal guardian. An example of this would be an adult who has been given guardianship of their elderly parent.
If you have a child, you will usually be allowed to get copies of their medical records. However, if you live in a state where your child can receive care without parental consent, if your child’s car was ordered by a court, or if you allow your child and their doctor to have a confidential relationship, you may not be able to get copies of their records.
You can sometimes have access to a deceased person’s medical records if you have been designated the representative of their estate.
Types of Medical Records
Generally, you are allowed to get copies of your own medical records or view your original records at your medical provider’s office. However, there are certain types of records that can be withheld if deemed necessary by the medical provider.
Commonly, psychotherapy patients will not be able to get copies of their therapist’s notes. Your records request may also be denied if they are being gathered for use in a lawsuit. If your medical provider believes giving you your medical records would cause you to harm yourself or another, your request will be denied.
Tennessee Medical Record Laws
Like every state, Tennessee has its own medical record laws outside of HIPPA. In this state, medical records are considered the property of the hospital or medical provider. To get copies of your medical records, or another person’s records, you will need to submit a written request. Psychiatrists and psychologists are allowed to withhold medical records, and there is a mandated reporting requirement for communicable and sexually transmitted diseases.
Help Getting Medical Records
If you’re having trouble getting your medical records, or if you’re interested in using your records in pursuit of a personal injury lawsuit, you need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney from the McMahan Law Firm.