Obtaining Medical Records

It is becoming increasingly more imperative for patients to request records following every procedure that is performed. This eliminates any future “waiting games” that hospitals and Doctors offices tend to play when you are requesting a second opinion seeing a specialist, etc..

The website www.aimsusa.org (ALLIANCE FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF MATERNITY SERVICES) provides some great information on obtaining hospital birth records. “In the event of hospitalization, obtain and preserve a complete copy of your hospital medical records. If hospitalized for childbirth, also obtain and preserve a complete copy of your infant's hospital and medical records, including nursing notes, lab reports, brand name of fetal monitor (long-term effects of ultrasound are unknown), any x-rays, fetal monitor strip charts, etc. (Nursing notes include not only information recorded by nurses but also information recorded by other personnel caring for the patient.)

Check with your State Department of Health to see if your state provides for patient access to his or her hospital medical records, including nursing notes. If your state does not provide for such access click on YOUR RIGHT TO YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS, to see a copy of the New York law which could be introduced in your state legislature.

If you would like to obtain a copy of your hospital medical records, it is more effective to send the request in writing. Send a letter to the chief administrator of the hospital.

To get his or her name call the hospital and ask for the "Administrator's Office". Tell the secretary that you would like to address a letter to the chief administrative officer and would like his or her name and official title. Such information is usually readily given.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to request information from every Doctor that has performed any type of procedure. Transferring records to a new physician does not give them ownership but merely viewer-ship of your medical history.

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