According to HIPAA, a national act that provides for the safety of patients' electronic medical records, hospitals, doctors and other providers must secure the privacy of all medical records. A patient can give access permission to providers, insurance companies and themselves. Most states create addendum-style statutes that support the national HIPAA act that govern medical records. In the state of Georgia, these laws are very clear; national laws maintain preeminence in disagreements between national and state laws.
Release of Information
In Georgia, a patient has the right to access his medical records. Georgia law requires any hospital visited in the last five years to maintain and secure medical records. Medicare beneficiaries must maintain patient files for seven years. All other health care providers, insurance companies or insurance billing companies must maintain medical records for ten years.
If you want to access these medical records, request them from the provider; the provider must then deliver the records within fifteen business days of receiving the request. However, providers can charge for access to medical records. Georgia allows charges for medical records in the amount of ninety-three cents for the first twenty pages, eighty cents for pages twenty through one hundred and sixty-three cents for every additional page. Every year, these fees adjust on July 1.
A provider may deny access to your records under certain conditions. If a doctor, nurse or other provider feels that access to your medical records would endanger you, they may prevent you from having them. The person who denies you access to medical records must have a valid and justifiable reason, such as the medical records of patients with suicidal tendencies or the medical records of minors in abusive homes.
In addition to the release of information to a patient in Georgia, Georgia residents also have state laws that allow them the ability to amend medical records. If a person disagrees with statements on a medical record, because it was stated by accident or the patient does not value the provider's medical opinion, the patient can make a written request within sixty days of receipt of the medical record for amendment.