Georgia law gives authorized persons the right to seek “complete and current” copies of medical records, which must be provided within thirty days of the request. Unfortunately, some nursing facilities are reluctant to release documents, especially if allegations of elder abuse have been brought against them.
If you suspect a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you’ll need their medical records from the nursing home as evidence. Don’t try to go it alone–contact an Americus nursing home abuse attorney about your case right away by calling the The Shrable Law Firm, P.C. at (229) 349-6291 or contact us online for a free consultation.
3-Step Process for Requesting Medical Records
1. Obtain authorization to request records
A nursing home patient has the right to obtain copies of their own medical records without further authorization. In order to request a copy of someone else’s medical records, you must have explicit authority to view and obtain them through a HIPAA-compliant release, a valid power of attorney, or through guardianship, conservatorship, or other court orders that expressly state you are authorized to obtain a copy of the records.
2. Make the request in person or in writing
Although you may make the request for records in person, it’s recommended that you issue a written request directly to the nursing home so that you have documented proof that the request was made.
Most facilities provide a form for requesting a patient’s medical records, but others might only require a letter which indicates your name and identifying information, the patient’s identifying information, what records are sought, and a copy of the document that authorizes you to obtain the records.
Ask the facility about the manner in which they receive requests because some may only accept them if sent via mail with a blank check, but others might accept them when personally delivered or if submitted via email or fax.
3. Pay the facility’s retrieval fee
Most facilities charge a fee for the retrieving and copying medical records. Although there’s no minimum for what can be charged, O.C.G.A §31-33-3 dictates the maximum amount that can be charged for:
- Search, retrieval, and other direct administrative costs
- Certification fee
- Copying costs for records in paper format with specific costs per page for pages 1-20, pages 21-100, and pages over 100
The Department of Community Health is responsible for calculating the annual inflation adjustment and publishing the revised rates each year–the new rates are effective July 1 of each calendar year.
Worried about a loved one in a nursing home? Call us.
Consider speaking with one of our experienced Americus nursing home abuse attorneys to discuss the best legal options to protect them and hold the facility liable for their negligence. Contact Shrable Law Firm right away to schedule your free consultation by using our online form or by calling us at (229) 349-6291.
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