Medical providers in Virginia, like in all states, are required to follow Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIIPAA) regulations on information disclosure for medical records. Medical records contain information such as personal and family medical histories, examination results, test results and prescription information. Although there is a national act regarding the release of this information, there are small areas that HIPAA does not cover or where HIPAA allows states to make their own regulations. Virginia has specific codes that govern the release of information.
In Virginia, providers are given 15 days to send medical records to patients upon request. These 15 days begin upon the receipt of the request. Charges may be placed on these and are sometimes as high as 25 cents per page. This requirement for providers to allow patients to see their records is called "right to access."
Virginia law defines adults as being 18-years old or older. All medical information that pertains to living adults is not accessible by anyone other than health care providers, insurance and billing companies and the patient herself. However, in the case of minors, information may be released to parents under certain circumstances.
The testing of minors for sexually-transmitted diseases is required to be reported to parents. Also, any medical records that document this treatment are also required to be made accessible to parents upon their request. Drug treatment and mental health records are not released to parents, as these could cause problems in patient recovery and family matters.
Like in almost all states, medical information is not released to the parents of married, adult or emancipated children.
In the event of death, Virginia statutes allow access to medical records according to a prioritized list. A person on the list is given access to medical records only if there are no persons still alive or existent who would be higher than her on the list. This list gives priority in the following order: spouse, adult child, parent, adult sibling and then relatives in the order of their relationship.