Obtaining a medical record is a necessity when you’re in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit. The medical record is crucial evidence if you’ve been the injured party of a car accident. That’s because you have the burden of proof that your injury was a result of the accident. You need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your injury is not a pre-existing medical condition.
However, not all medical records are available per request, and there might be some circumstances that prevent any healthcare organization from releasing them.
The Power of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
The groundbreaking HIPAA law strengthens the patient’s right to obtain medical records. The legislation primarily provides a patient’s data privacy and safeguard medical information. HIPAA also allows all patients to retrieve their medical information upon request, but with a few exceptions.
The HIPAA serves as the tool that makes access to medical records a right. You can raise this as a banner to easily access your medical files so you can have a favorable compensation after a personal injury. Your medical record can help your lawyer mediate sessions like a master.
According to HIPAA standards, you can obtain your medical records within 30 days upon request. If it takes longer than that, the medical institution must be able to state the reasons for the delay. In Montana, you can see and obtain your medical record within ten days of your request. You can even correct the details of your medical record by adding information. According to the Guide to Consumer Rights under HIPAA, you have a right to file a complaint if you believe that the medical institution has violated your right to view, get a copy, or even amend your medical record.
As a patient, you have the right to view or obtain a copy of your medical records. This right is expressed in the HIPAA. However, medical institutions have the right to deny the release or viewing of your medical records.
Legitimate Reasons to Deny Access
Generally, there are only two instances that allow healthcare institutions to deny access to a patient’s medical information.
- If the doctor has reason to believe that such a record will make the patient commit suicide. Nevertheless, the refusal to access the record is only temporary. Medical institutions must notify the patient of the date of access if the doctor believes that the risk of harm is lower.
- If the medical information contains facts that unintentionally reveal the information or personal data about another person. This may pertain to individuals who have given their accounts or have given information to the patient’s psychologist or doctor. If these individuals do not wish their personal information divulged, then the patient or the interesting party cannot access that part of the medical record. This rule, however, is only applicable to third parties. All medical professionals, whose personal data are in the medical records, cannot enjoy the same anonymity because it is in line with their call of duty. If they refuse because of this reason and it caused further injury to the patient, then that constitutes a medical malpractice.
Other Instances to Deny Access
Other than the two instances mentioned, parents can also be denied access to their child’s medical records if the child who has reached 14 years or older has expressly said that he or she does not want the parents to access the medical information. If the child also reaches 18 years of age, the parents no longer have the right to be the interested party of the child’s medical records.
Ready for your free case evaluation? To understand more about this matter and to get proper legal guidance, contact Glacier Law Firm today by calling (406) 298-6725. You may also visit our office at 20 Four Mile Drive, Ste #4, Kalispell, Montana.