Seniors struggle to get hands on medical records

Seniors struggle to get hands on medical records


Yale University researchers have found discrepancies in many American hospitals’ medical record disclosure policy.  The study looked at 83 leading hospitals and found how expensive, timely and easily patients could receive their medical records.

The results show various levels of noncompliance with federal regulations, and some reporting forms did not include all necessary information for patients.  Researchers found only 44 of 83 hospitals made clear to patients on forms that they could receive their entire medical history, despite all 83 hospitals telling patients they are able to receive their entire history over the phone. 

Medical record costs were also found to be much higher than the federally recommended limit of $6.50 for electronically maintained records.  One hospital charged $541.50 for a 200-page report, and 47 other hospitals’ fees were over the recommended limit.

Furthermore, the price was often not revealed on forms, so patients would be left in the dark to the potential cost of receiving their medical records.

HIPAA outlines clear regulations on medical records, and patients have the right to access their medical history within 30 days of their request.  Despite digital medical records, patients still face significant difficulty in receiving their medical history in a timely and efficient manner.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the MyHealthEData initiative in March this year to combat issues Americans face when receiving their medical documents.  CMS wants the initiative to highlight patient’s rights to receive their medical history and share it with anyone they want.

While digital access to medical records offers a potential for patients and seniors to gain better access to their health records, if it is not made abundantly clear to patients many will remain unaware of their rights.  The research highlights many American hospitals and health care providers have a long way to go in order to provide adequate information on receiving medical records and histories. 

If you want your or your loved one’s medical records, GetMyHealthData provides a summary of your rights and steps to request medical records.

We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.

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Alec Pronk
Alec Pronk

Political writer who also enjoys playing and watching soccer, basketball and chess. I also enjoy teaching English as a Foreign Language among other subjects.

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