Important addition 7/16/09 6:40 pm EDT:
Be sure to read the HIPAA clarification by commenter “SLC” below, and any subsequent discussion. Dorothy Tillman was requesting her aunt’s records, not her own. This doesn’t change the need (IMO), but it does put a different light on the event.
This is a tiny item, which we might normally put in our “Found On The Net” sidebar. But this is a big one, and a sign of things to come.
We missed it at the time, but Vince Kuraitis’s must-read blog related in March that a year ago…
Frustrated after an overnight stay in the ER which she said yielded “little treatment”, she requested a copy of her aunt’s medical records before leaving. When she was told that it was hospital policy to request records “in writing”, Dorothy escalated her requests for the records. Refusing to leave without the records, she was brought to the floor by security guards and arrested on charges of criminal trespassing….
Vince relates how today’s HIPAA regulations, written in the stone age (relatively), says providers must give you your records, but they can take a month to do it. (And if they want, they can say that’s not enough and take another month.) When someone needs care, that’s not enough.