How do I get a copy of my medical record?
A request for copies of medical records must be in writing, dated and signed by the person making the request, and include a reasonable description of the records sought. If someone is making a request on your behalf, he or she must provide evidence of the authority to receive the records (such as a power of attorney). The provider must accept a photocopy, facsimile, or other copy of the original signed by the requester as if it were an original (Virginia Code § 32.1-127.1:03.
Upon receipt of such a request, the health care provider has 30 days to do one of the following:
- provide copies of the records or allow electronic access to the requested health records to any requester authorized to receive them in electronic format if so requested;
- inform the requester if the information does not exist or cannot be found;
- inform the requester of the provider who now maintains the records; or
- deny the records for specific reasons set out in Section F of the statute.
Please contact our office to request and complete an “Authorization for Release of Medical Records” form.
What will I be charged for a copy of my medical record?
If an individual requests a copy of his health record from a health care entity, the health care entity may impose a reasonable cost-based fee, which shall include only the cost of supplies for and labor of copying the requested information, postage when the individual requests that such information be mailed, and preparation of an explanation or summary of such information as agreed to by the individual. For the purposes of this section, “individual” includes a person with authority to act on behalf of the individual who is the subject of the health record in making decisions related to his health care. If an attorney or insurer requests a copy in conjunction with civil litigation, the charges are set in § 8.01-413 of the Code of Virginia.
Fees are outlined on the “Authorization for Release of Medical Records” form.
How long does a provider have to keep a medical record?
Regulations of the Board of Medicine (18VAC85-20-26) state that practitioners must maintain a patient record for a minimum of six years following the last patient encounter with the following exceptions:
- Records of a minor child, including immunizations, must be maintained until the child reaches the age of 18 or becomes emancipated, with a minimum time for record retention of six years from the last patient encounter regardless of the age of the child;
- Records that have previously been transferred to another practitioner or health care provider or provided to the patient or his personal representative; or
- Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time.
Practitioners must post information or in some manner inform all patients concerning the time frame for record retention and destruction. Patient records can only be destroyed in a manner that protects patient confidentiality, such as by incineration or shredding.
Medical records will be retained for a minimum of seven years. At the expiration of the retention period, the Medical Records will be destroyed in a manner that protects patient confidentiality.