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How do I obtain a copy of my medical records from my physician or a hospital?

You are entitled to a copy of your medical records under most circumstances after providing the physician with a signed release and paying the required fees as set by state law. If you still cannot obtain your records, you may file a complaint with the Medical Board. HIPAA regulations may also apply. Below is a sample note of what you should say in writing to request the record(s):

Month, Day, Year

Dear Dr. (Last Name):

Please send a copy of my medical record(s) to my new physician, Dr (First Name) (Last Name). Dr. (Last Name)'s address is: street address, city, state zip code. My initial visit with this physician to review my medical history is on: day, month, date, year. It would be greatly appreciated if you could have my record(s) there at least five (5) days in advance of this date to give Dr. (Last Name) an opportunity to review the file before hand.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this request, I may be reached at (daytime telephone number) or Mr/s. (First and Last Name) is Dr. (Last Name)'s office manager and s/he may be reached at (office telephone number) if you need further explanation of the information being requested.

Sincerely,

Your Signature

Be sure to date the letter. Give the physician at least three (3) weeks notice, if possible. After three business days of submitting the request in writing, follow up with a telephone call to make sure the physician's staff clearly understands what is being requested. Check with your new physician at least a week before your first appointment to make sure the record(s) have arrived. If, after making every reasonable attempt to obtain your records, and you are unsuccessful, you have the right to file a complaint with the Georgia Medical Board. However, remember, the complaint process is a lengthy investigative process and may not be the best route to follow if you need your records on an urgent basis. We will try to assist you in emergency situations.

How do I obtain a copy of my hospital medical record? Instead of addressing your letter (please refer to previous question) to an individual physician, you should call the hospital and find out who is in charge of the Medical Records Department for the hospital. By calling ahead of time, you will be able to inquire about the cost of providing this service. You may have to put your request in writing and then receive correspondence seeking payment for the copying charges in advance. When writing to a large institution such as a hospital, be sure to address your written request to the hospital and to the supervisor of the Medical Records Department. Inquire whether or not a "mail stop" code needs to be included in the address to ensure prompt delivery. In your letter, you should clearly indicate where and to whom you would like a copy of your hospital medical records sent. As with any request being made of a large institution, you should allow six to eight weeks for delivery.