How to Get Medical Records Sealed From Background Searches

Medical records are considered highly sensitive information. Each state has its own laws as to how the confidentiality of medical records are maintained. Medical records that are not covered by health care providers or health plans are not always considered confidential. If you want to protect your medical records from background investigations, you will need to go through the process of sealing them. The process is similar in every jurisdiction.

Check that your case doesn't fall under any of the exceptions to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rule. Under HIPAA, your records are already sealed. Anyone who tries to access them (including a background investigator) is in violation of the law and may be subject to jail time. In 2003, a surgeon working at UCLA School of Medicine was sentenced to four months in prison for unauthorized access to medical records. However, your records can be viewed after a subpoena is issued or you give permission to access them. In those cases, you can file a motion to deny the release of your records.

Refuse consent if you don't want investigators looking at your records. Before an employer conducts a background check, they will need your consent to see your medical records.

Read More: What Types of Medical Record Forms Are There?

File a motion to deny access to your medical records if they are subpoenaed. You will want to work with an attorney with experience in privacy law. Judges will use their own judgment as to whether or not a release of records should be denied in the event of a subpoena. You will need to provide a reason why the records need to be kept private, and make sure that the reason you have for sealing them is compelling and shows that you would face serious consequences if your records were released. Your attorney will handle the necessary paperwork and talk to the judge on your behalf. You will need to tell your attorney about any issues you are facing, and why it would be detrimental to you if your records were released.


  • Always be cautious when using medical websites. Check that the site participates in a web seal program such as TRUSTe. Any information you disclose on a health website that is not properly protected may be visible during a background check.

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