FAQs: How does a patient obtain his/her medical records from an Ohio physician or hospital when he/she is concerned about potential medical negligence?
Answer: Ohio law provides that you are entitled to a copy of your medical records in response to a written request.
When a patient or loved one suffers a bad outcome during a hospitalization or while under the care of a physician, burning questions often arise. After grieving over a serious complication or the premature wrongful death of a loved one, patients may wish to review medical records to see what really happened.
Ohio law provides that patients have a right to obtain their medical records. Ohio’s statutory code, the Ohio Revised Code, provides that healthcare providers must make a copy of the medical record available “within a reasonable time” in response to a written request from the patient or a qualified representative. The Revised Code also sets the maximum rate that a provider can charge for copies of records. The provider can only refuse if they determine that access to the records is likely to have an “adverse effect on the patient.” See R.C. 3701.74-.741.
Persons entitled to obtain records on the patient’s behalf include “a minor patient’s parent or other person acting in loco parentis, a court-appointed guardian, or a person with durable power of attorney for health care for a patient, the executor or administrator of the patient’s estate, or the person responsible for the patient’s estate if it is not to be probated.” When you hire a medical malpractice attorney, the attorney will typically ask you to sign HIPAA-compliant medical authorizations that permit providers to release medical records to the lawyer.
A unique problem arises with the increased usage of electronic medical records (EMRs). A 563-page modification to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which takes effect on March 26, 2013, permits patients to access their EMR in an electronic format, Previously, providers argued that HIPAA entitled patients to a paper copy of their EMR only. Paper copies do not capture all of the record, and lead to duplication and confusion. Patients will also want a copy of the “audit trail,” metadata showing who accessed their EMR and when.
A medical negligence attorney will have your records reviewed by a nurse legal consultant, a qualified physician or some other professional who is skilled in reading medical records, to determine whether care fell within accepted standards. Sometimes, imaging films and pathology slides need to be reviewed in order to determine whether they were originally interpreted accurately.