Should I Request a Copy of My Medical Records and How?

Under federal and Pennsylvania law, you have the right to obtain your medical records following your request. What you may already know if you have attempted to get your records is that medical offices are often reluctant to provide your records to you even though they are obligated to give them to you in most cases. Our clients often report delays and refusals to furnish their medical records. We have had to help many clients obtain their medical records from medical offices. You have a right to your records and you should exercise that right if you want to see them.

Whose records you may obtain upon request

You may request your own medical records, of course and typically you are entitled to obtain medical records for other people in the following circumstances:

  • Request for your minor child
  • Request on behalf of someone if you are their personal representative
  • Request the records for a deceased person if you are the certified executor or administrator of his or her estate

How to request them:

The best place to start with requesting your medical records is to contact your medical provider’s office and ask what their procedure is for requesting records. Often they will have a form for you to fill out in order to request the records. They should provide your record within 30 days from the request, but they are afforded extra time in some cases. Ultimately it should not take longer than 90 days to receive your records. They may request a reasonable copy fee in exchange for giving you copies of your medical records.


There are some limited exceptions under which your medical provider may deny your medical records request such as denial of request if the information you are gathering could endanger you or another person. A medical provider may not deny your request due to unpaid medical bills. If your medical provider denies your request, you may request that another medical provider review the decision to deny your medical records request.

Additional requests

It often seems that medical providers are protective of releasing patients’ medical records to the patients themselves, but just as you have a right to those medical records, you also have additional rights. Once you have obtained and reviewed your medical records, you may also request that they are amended if you object to inaccurate information in your records or you wish to add information that you believe has been left out of your records. You also have a right to request information regarding whether or not your medical provider has shared your medical information with anyone else and with whom they have been shared.

What to do if your medical records requests are denied

If you have been denied medical records requests, you may file a complaint with several government offices including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office for Civil Rights. On the other hand, it is more paper work and waiting for you to obtain something that you are entitled to in the first place and filing a complaint does not mean that you are going to end up getting your medical records.

If you need help obtaining your medical records or if your medical records requests have been denied, contact Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney, Eric Weitz, to schedule a consultation. Your medical records requests should only be denied in very limited circumstances. You have a right to your medical records and our medical malpractice team wants to see that you are not unfairly denied that right.



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