The Essentials: Getting copies of medical records

When you have processed the paperwork to be officially granted power of attorney to help your aging loved one visit the doctor and aggregate important health benefit and history info, your next step is actually getting the info. Here, we tackle commonly asked questions that many of our Granny Nannies clients have had over the years. The baby boomers are a great generation, and many are in their golden years already, so pay attention now, so dealing with things later won’t be as overwhelming for the family,

  1. Do we have to pay to get medical records?
    Each doctor’s office may have their individual policies on this one. But in most cases, the fees should be nominal (around $5 or $10).
  2. Can medical records be withheld if medical bills haven’t been paid yet?
  3. What if a doctor has retired or is no longer practicing?
    Legally speaking, medical records must be maintained even after a doctor retires or is no longer practicing medicine. The medical records must be transferred to another health care provider or archived with a commercial storage company.
  4. What if it’s hard to figure out where the medical records have been transferred? If the doctor retires or shutters, there good options for finding contact info for that practice:
    • Contact the state medical board.
    • Contact the health insurance company.
    • Contact the hospital that the doctor was affiliated with.
  5. What If medical records aren’t available from a specific doctor?
    Well, this is a tedious task, but you can assemble information about their health conditions and treatments. Take a deep breath, then review insurance claims to find out which labs, pharmacies, hospitals, or specialists were used and contact them directly to get copies of any relevant records or test results.
  6. Move forward like an organizational wizard. Keep diligent notes and records. Come up with an easy to access and understand system that you can sustain and share, if needed, in the future.