Who may request medical records and who must share them?
To request medical records, you must be the patient, or the parent or guardian of the patient for whom you seek records. Caregivers may be able to access records if the patient has provided written permission to the provider.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides good background information for understanding who may have access to your records.
Providers are required to share any notes or records they have created themselves, or any test results for which they have copies. They are also required to share any information provided to them about you by another doctor if that information was used for the diagnosis and/or treatment being discussed with you.
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.
If you seek hospital records or records from any other medical facility, you will want to request them directly from that facility.
Be aware that you may be denied some records, usually related to mental health records. If a provider believes that letting you look at your medical records can endanger your physical health, your request may be refused. They cannot deny you access just because they think you will be upset, unless they believe revealing the information might lead you to physically harming yourself. If you are refused, the provider must make that clear, in writing.
How do I obtain copies of medical records for those other than myself?
The parent or legal guardian must sign the consent release. Legal guardians will be asked to provide documentation of legal guardianship.
- Patients who are 18 or older, but unable to sign consent due to physical/mental illness
Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney (or other court appointed documentation) must be provided.
- Patients who are deceased
The legally appointed Executer of Estate must complete the consent for release.Legal representation documentation must be provided.
How long will it take to process my request?
Requests for copies will be processed within 15 business days; however they may take up to 30 days. Copies may be emailed or mailed to the address provided.
What if I was seen at multiple facilities and need copies of records from all facilities?
Only send one authorization form. Please indicate on the form all the facilities you would like to receive records from, and the dates. You may receive your medical records electronically or by mail.
Is there a fee for obtaining my medical records?
Fees for personal records are as follows:
The Georgia Office of Planning and Budget has approved these fees for cost related to medical record retrieval, copying and certification effective July 1, 2004.
What if I am a third party and would like to request medical records?
Per-page fee: 1 - 200
Per-page fee: 201+
To obtain a copy of a WellStar medical record, we require a written request and properly executed patient authorization for disclosure of protected health information. This can be mailed to Health Information Management, Release of Information Services, at the address of the appropriate WellStar Hospital.
On your request letter and patient authorization identify the hospital where patient was treated. Fax requests are only accepted from healthcare providers and patients.