Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects Dopaminergic neurons, which are nerve cells in the brain responsible for producing dopamine. Dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter...
Medical records are not created equal. Just as you, your records are unique to you and only you. Medical records are created when you receive treatment of any kind, whether it is a simple look at a mole to see if it’s ok, or if you received a dreaded diagnosis. It’s all in your records and there’s a blueprint of the past. Your records can include personal subjects you trusted your doctor to never tell, like stress you are having because of something you did, and are not proud of or high risk sexual acts. I am just using these examples to explain why your records are important for you to gather instead of someone else doing it for you. Also, it explains the reason why we are glad there are laws to help protect our records from being given out to just anyone.
I need to cover that there are certain diagnoses that law requires the doctor to report to the health department and other government facilities like the CDC. These diagnoses include those like HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis, Mumps, Shigelloses, and Lyme Disease, to mention only a few. We,as citizens, have no say in this because reportable diseases are diseases considered to be of great public health importance. Reporting helps track potential health problems in communities and keeps us safe.
All states have a “reportable diseases” list. It is the responsibility of the health care provider, not the patient, to report cases of these diseases.
There may be times that you are forced to share your medical records even though you would rather not. An example is when you are applying for Health or Life Insurance. Most insurance companies require you to give them your medical records or they will not issue a policy to you. Insurance companies are considered financial institutions under the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB). Banks, brokerage houses and Insurance Companies must provide you of notice of how they gather and use your information.
A potential employer may ask for your medical records before hiring you as a part of their background check. To learn more on employment background checks and an employer’s obligation to you under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), read PRC Fact Sheet 16: Employment Background Checks and the FTC’s website on background checks.
In part 1, I explained that it is important that you get your records before you leave the office. Most of the time it will cost nothing or less than the normal charge. I do want to mention that if ever a office or medical facility wants to charge you for your records and you do not have the money, They can not refuse your access to them. In some states you are required in your own handwriting to write that you can not afford to pay. Regardless, you can get your records.
Make it a habit to request your records before leaving your doctor’s appointment. I hope now you are better equipped with the knowledge of your patient rights and protection.