Saturday, November 01, 2014
Wednesday, June 09, 2010 coley2822, Community Member, asks

Q: how long can a doctor legally hold medical records if asked by patient

I have recently been put on a loa from my job due to the constant migraines and I am awaiting my approval for STD. The Dr. has approved me to be out of work but when it comes to receiving my medical records I am not receiving them. They had given me old records that doesnt support my claim for short term disability and I continue to call and even show up at the office but I am still unsuccessful. I dont know what else to do and it seems as if they are giving me the run around. Any other suggestion? And arent they supposed to give me my medical records if I request them

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Answers (2)
Jeremy Shane, Health Guide
6/ 9/10 6:33pm

Coley, you have the right to get your medical records.  The rules vary from state to state.  There's a great service called the Center on Medical Record Rights and Privacy at Georgetown University in Washington DC that lists what the rules are in each state about getting your medical records, and the doctor's office's obligation to provide them to you.  Here's a link:


Also, the group called Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a great sample form letter for you to send to the doctor's office for your records.


[Your name]
[Your address]

[Name of care provider or facility]

RE: [Your medical identification number or other identifier used]


The purpose of this letter is to request copies of my medical records as allowed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Department of Health and Human Services regulations.

I was treated in your office [at your facility] between [fill in dates]. I request copies of the following [or all] health records related to my treatment.

[Identify records requested, e.g. medical history form you provided; physician and nurses' notes; test results, consultations with specialists; referrals.]

[Note: HIPAA also allows you to request a summary of your medical records. If you prefer a summary, you should agree to a fee beforehand.]

I understand you may charge a ìreasonableî fee for copying the records, but will not charge for time spent locating the records. Please mail the requested records to me at the above address. [If you request that the records be mailed, you may also be charged for postage.]*

I look forward to receiving the above records within 30 days as specified under HIPAA. If my request cannot be honored within 30 days, please inform me of this by letter as well as the date I might expect to receive my records*.



[Your signature]
[Your name printed]

*Under HIPAA you can be charged a ìreasonableî fee for copying records. You may also be charged for postage if you ask that records be mailed to you. HIPAA allows 30 days for a provider to respond to your request for records, with one 30-day extension for good reason.

Your state laws may include a lower fee for copies of records or a shorter time for the provider to respond to your request.


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coley2822, Community Member
6/ 9/10 7:32pm

thanks this was helpful and I may have to go in with this form. Its been well over 30 days since Ive requested certain documents and still haven't had much luck. I've been told I would get them at future appointments,and haven't I even been told to come in and pick them up to find that they weren't complete. Its just been so rough and stressful. (The migraines are enough) But to constantly get the run around is even worse. The only thing is they haven't or don't charge a fee b/c money has never been mentioned but I'd rather pay and get my records promptly then have them be given to me for free and its taken me almost 2 months now.

Teri Robert, Health Guide
6/17/10 5:54pm



-:¦:-•:*'""*:•.-:¦:-•*Welcome to MyMigraineConnection!*•-:¦:-•:*'""*:•.-:¦:-


As Anniston said, HIPAA requires your doctor to provide you with a copy of your records within 30 days. And, yes, they can charge you for the copies, BUT they can only charge you what it actually costs them to make the copies, not for research time, etc. You can read more in Your Rights To Your Medical Records   .


Please keep us posted on how you're coming with this?


Welcome again,



coley2822, Community Member
6/17/10 9:33pm

After I was going to inform them abt the HIPPA law because it was well over 30 days I finally received my records to process & complete my STD claim which is another long on going issue & journey. Thanks for all the info/advice

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By coley2822, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 06/09/10