Obtaining Medical Records in New Jersey
Posted on: March 31, 2023
Medical records are not only a critical aspect of your health care, but they should also be accessible for any potential legal proceedings. Your medical records are protected by federal and state laws because they contain a personal and detailed history of your health condition, treatments, and ongoing care. They are also used by other doctors, hospitals, and health care providers to properly treat you. Knowing how to obtain your medical records in New Jersey ensures that your rights and best interests are protected as a patient.
Why Would You Need Your Medical Records?
Having access to medical records allows you to learn more about your health condition, your treatment, and what the plan is for your ongoing care. It also helps you avoid miscommunication and determine whether the details in your medical records are accurate if you trust your healthcare provider, and if you want to continue treatment under their care.
Many patients need to obtain their medical records to use as evidence for insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. Your medical records can help prove that an injury occurred and determine what caused it. It is common for car accident victims and patients who believe they have a medical malpractice claim to need access to the details in their medical records.
Overview of Your Medical Record Rights
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires that healthcare providers maintain the privacy of any personal information relating to your physical or mental health. HIPAA is also the federal law that gives you the right to obtain, correct, or amend your medical record. Both the HIPAA Privacy Rule and New Jersey law allows you access your medical records.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides standards that apply to medical records held by healthcare providers across the country. New Jersey law sets forth standards for medical records held by healthcare providers within the state.
In New Jersey, you have the right to:
- See and get a copy of your medical record: Typically, your healthcare provider must let you see your medical record or give you a copy of it within 30 days of receiving your request. Your healthcare provider is allowed to charge you for copies of your medical record in addition to postage.
- Correct your medical record: You have the right to correct your medical record by having information added to make it more accurate or complete. This is also called the right to amend your record.
- File a complaint. You have the right to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if you feel your healthcare provider has violated your right to see, get a copy of, or amend your medical record. You can also file a complaint with the New Jersey agency that regulates your health care provider.
- Sue in New Jersey courts: If your healthcare provider violates your rights under the New Jersey laws that allow you to see and obtain copies of your medical records, you have the right to sue in state court.
New Jersey healthcare providers must follow the HIPAA Privacy Rule as well as state laws. If state and federal HIPAA laws are inconsistent, your healthcare provider must choose the option that best protects your rights as a patient. Hospitals in New Jersey are required to keep patients’ medical records for at least 10 years after their discharge or until the patient reaches the age of 23, whichever is longer. Physicians must keep records for at least seven years from the last time they were updated.
Resources on HIPPA Laws:
How Do You Get Copies of Your Medical Records in New Jersey?
New Jersey law gives you the right to see and obtain your own medical records as well as medical records for a minor child in your care. The only other person who is permitted obtain your medical records is a personal representative.
Depending on your healthcare provider’s requirements, you can get copies of your New Jersey medical records in the following ways:
- Complete an online patient authorization form requesting release of information.
- Email, fax, scan, or mail your completed authorization form to your healthcare provider’s address.
- Go to your healthcare provider’s office in person with your completed request forms.
- Have a personal representative pick up your medical records with a written request and proper identification.
New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at Ellis Law Will Help Obtain Your Medical Records and Protect Your Rights
Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Ellis Law know the federal and state laws and procedures to obtain your medical records and protect your best interests. Our experienced attorneys understand the importance of access to complete and accurate medical records, especially for victims pursuing personal injury claims.
To schedule a free consultation, call our legal team at 732-308-0200 or contact us online. Conveniently located in Freehold, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in Freehold, Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.