Get Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) Medical Records
Everyone's entitled to medical records that belong to them. It doesn't matter where you live or why you need access to them. However, sometimes getting Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) medical records can be a challenge. There are HIPAA considerations and other issues that may slow you down.
We are here to lessen the struggle, no matter why you want your records. Keep in mind that if you want easier access to your medical records, DoNotPay can help.
HIPAA: What It Says Regarding Your Access to BWH Health Records
The Health insurance Portability and Accounting Act of 1996, or HIPAA, protects a person's privacy, almost to a fault. It is what allows you to have access to your medical information, whether in a file or kept as electronic medical files.
Some things you're entitled to are:
- Medical Test Results
- Provider Notes Regarding Your Care
- All Lab Reports
- Your Billing Information
However, it is also what makes it quite difficult for some people to get access to those records, even though it is their records.
According to HIPAA, you can request medical records for:
- Yourself or as the parent or guardian of the patient.
- Someone you provide care to or if you're a patient's advocate with written consent from the patient.
- You're some entity with permission (primary care physician, rehabilitation centers, insurance company, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.)
- You're the executor of an estate seeking medical records for a deceased patient.
If you do not fit into any of these positions, the person's medical records from Brigham and Women's Hospital may be out of reach. In all cases, you will need to verify who you are and why you need access to that medical record.
Cost to Obtain BWH Medical Records
When trying to access your medical records, price is likely going to be something you worry about. Some medical records can be extensive. In Massachusetts, there are restrictions on how much money doctors can charge a person for copies of their records.
HIPAA states physicians may only charge "reasonable, cost-based fees".
This means they may only charge for the cost of your records based on:
- Sheets of paper used
- Time required for printing
- Postal fees (if mailed)
The state narrows it down further by saying that physicians that aren't restricted by HIPAA may charge:
- A Base Fee of $15.00 for the Request
- Plus $0.50 Per Page Up to 100 Pages
- Plus $0.25 Per Page Over 100 Pages
You should not have to pay fees if you're requesting a copy of medical records on behalf of a beneficiary for provisions listed in the Social Security Act or Federal/State Financial Benefit Programs. This is stated clearly by HIPAA, but you may have to provide proof of what you are doing if you want to avoid fees.
Why Do You Need Access to Your BWH Medical Record?
There are several reasons to get a copy of your medical records from BWH. Some of the most common reasons include:
1. Moving to Another State
When you move to another state, your doctor will not be close enough for you to visit. Since doctors are only required to keep medical records for seven years, you do not want your history to be erased.
2. Compiling a Family Medical History
Gathering information about your medical history and your family's can help you see potential problems that lie ahead.
3. Visiting a New Physician or Specialist
When visiting a specialist or a new physician, they can request your medical records, but it may take time. To ensure they know the important parts of your history on your first visit, you can supply them with the information yourself.
4. To Look for Errors in Your Medical History
Mistakes and errors happen. It's good to check your records to ensure that there are no errors that may endanger you in the future.
Every day, there are people who choose to get a copy of their medical report. No matter what reason you have for seeking yours, there is no reason you cannot get it. However, keep in mind that there may be some restrictions that will slow the process.
Are There Restrictions on Medical Records Being Released in Massachusetts?
As if dealing with how to get medical records isn't enough, you must also deal with certain restrictions. What could cause your records to be on hold? The biggest is timing.
Physicians must only hold medical records for seven years after the last time they saw you in their office. The only exception is if the patient was a minor that came to them for medical help. When this happens, the doctor must keep that record a minimum of seven years from the last patient encounter or until the patient turns eighteen. The longer option is the only one that will apply.
Otherwise, if you request your records, the doctor should make them available to you. If your primary care physician (PCP) retires, the doctor that takes over his office is still responsible for keeping up with your records for the full seven years.
We should also note that providers may not refuse to give you records because of unpaid bills. However, they can request that you pay for the copies before they release them to you.
How to Get Medical Records from BWH on Your Own?
If you are trying to discover how to request medical records, there are several things you can do. One of the first things is to make sure you're authorized to get those records according to both HIPAA and Massachusetts law.
From there, whether filling out a release form online, writing a letter to request records, or in person; you will need to be prepared to provide your information. This includes your:
- Name (including maiden name if applicable)
- Email Address (especially if requesting a digital copy)
- Which Records You Are Requesting
- Date of Services Provided (procedure date or years with that provider)
- Provider Name or Facility Information
- Medical Record Number
When trying to get your medical records from BWH, you will need to print the form and send it to the Mass General Brigham Release of Information Department.
|Mass General Brigham Release of Information Department|
|Medical Record Release Form||BWH Medical Record Release Form PDF|
|Mailing Address||Mass General Brigham
Release of Information Unit
121 Innerbelt Road, Somerville, MA 02143-4453
|Online Portal||Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway|
|General Phone Number||617-726-2361|
You can also find out more information about requesting records at Mass General Brigham.
Note that if you send your completed form via email or receive records through email, your privacy isn't guaranteed. The process can be time-consuming and complicated if you do not have all your information together. To help you handle it, DoNotPay is here. We can take care of the paper chase on your behalf.
Let DoNotPay Simplify Obtaining Medical Records from BWH
DoNotPay is here to help you track down medical records, regardless of which medical facility or hospital you have visited. We have had success with several large medical facilities, including:
We feel confident that we can get access to medical records at Brigham and Women's Hospital as well. If you want us to write a letter requesting your records, we will do it in the simplest way possible. All you have to do is:
- Look up medical records on DoNotPay's website.
- Enter the name of the health care provider you'd like to receive medical records from.
- Answer a few questions about your provider, and where you'd like to send the records.
It's just that simple. You provide the information, and we will do the rest because we want to know that you have the information you need about your health.
Other Ways that DoNotPay Can Simplify Your Life
Accessing BWH medical records is just one thing that DoNotPay can do to simplify your life, especially when dealing with your medical concerns and/or situations. Just a few of the services we provide include:
- Request Sick Leave from Work
- Creating Advance Health Care Directives
- Start the Small Claims Process
- Help You Negotiate Bills
- File Complaints Against Any Entity
- Locate Birth Certificates
All you have to do is let us know you need help. We're always here for you. Simply visit DoNotPay online to learn more.