How to Complete and Submit Medical Records Release Forms

Request Medical Records How to Complete and Submit Medical Records Release Forms

How to Complete Medical Records Release Forms

Although your medical records contain highly personal information like your name and date of birth, and critical facts about your overall health, accessing them isn't always easy. Whether you're moving to a new location, switching healthcare providers, or taking steps to ensure overall continuity of care, requesting your medical records is important. To get them, you'll need to complete and submit a medical records release form. Private medical practices, hospitals, and general clinics go out of their way to keep this data protected. Thus, without a completed release form, these entities won't hand over your records. Moreover, you'll often find that there are different requirements for accessing medical records from different facilities.

The good news is that you're legally entitled to this information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Best of all, as the world's first robot lawyer, DoNotPay can help you receive them. Whether you've got questions about how long your medical records are kept or how to get your medical records from specific healthcare providers, DoNotPay has got you covered. With DoNotPay's Request Medical Records product, accessing this vital data for yourself or for a third party is always easy.

HIPAA and Your Right to Request and Access Medical Information

Signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) Act of 1996 gives consumers the right to access protected health information (PHI) upon request. Although HIPPA is best-known for safeguarding sensitive patient data, it also exists to empower patients so that they're better able to control, monitor, or manage their health decisions and their overall healthcare. Thus, while accessing copies of medical records isn't always easy, it is your legal right to both request and receive this data in a timely fashion.

What Are the Different Types of Medical Records?

There are three different types of medical records that doctors commonly use:

  1. Electronic health records
  2. Electronic medical records
  3. Personal health records

Electronic health records (EHRs) are designed for sharing between health care providers within the same system. This way, information about your health that's recorded by your primary doctor can be easily shared with your gastroenterologist, cardiologist, orthopedic surgeon, or other specialty providers.  Conversely, electronic medical records (EMRs) represent notes taken by individual doctors that get stored on their computers. This is data that your doctor can use to structure your treatments and ongoing preventative care.  In recent years, EMRs have completely taken the place of physical files.

A personal health record (PHR) is a medical record that you create and keep on your own. You can store your PHRs physically, on your computer, or on a smartphone or tablet. No matter how unofficial these might seem, they can be a tremendous help if you ever have a medical emergency and need to disclose any:

  • Chronic conditions
  • Medications you're currently taking
  • Food or medication allergies

More commonly, however, PHRs refer to records that hospitals allow their patients to store online via websites that are provided by their health plans. When you use platforms that are provided by your health insurance plan, all information that you upload or save will be diligently protected. One very important part of learning how to request medical records is understanding the different record types that are kept by professionals and facilities. 

How to Use a Medical Records Release Form to Get Electronic Copies of Your Medical Records

Each hospital, clinic or practice may have a very specific process for requesting medical records. If you wish to submit a medical records release authorization form, you can always start by speaking with the Patient Services department to find out what the exact requirements are. In most cases, you can submit an in-person or written request.

This request should include:

  • Personally identifying information such as name, date of birth, and patient number
  • Detail who can receive the information you are requesting
  • List the type of data the recipient can receive
  • Detail the reason why you are issuing the authorization

Some hospitals may have their own authorization forms. These can usually be picked up at the front desk or accessed on their official websites.  It is additionally important to note that certain medical record requests are exempt from the need for authorization forms.

These include the release of PHIs to:

  • Treating facilities or physicians
  • Claims adjusters for the payment of personal injury claims
  • Health insurance companies for authorization purposes

Common Reasons for Submitting a Medical Records Release Form

There are many reasons to submit a medical records release form. This might be something that you choose to do for yourself, or on behalf of someone who can no longer manage their own medical care. For instance, if you have recently been assigned power of attorney for a family member, gaining access to their records will help inform your decisions about the care and end-of-life treatment or other services they receive.

Among some of the most common reasons for submitting a medical records release form are:

  • Your primary doctor is retiring or moving to another practice and you want your health information transferred immediately
  • You want to have your medical records transferred to a new doctor or a secondary care provider
  • You wish to have a saved copy of your electronic health records on hand for emergencies
  • You want to provide your loved ones with your personal health records

How Much Does It Cost to Submit a Medical Records Release Form?

Those who hold medical records do not generally charge fees for the submission of a single medical record authorization form. However, in instances in which ongoing requests for records are deemed excessive or unnecessary, some facilities may levy a small charge. In many states, this charge ranges between just $0.20 and $2 per request.

What Types of Medical Records Are Restricted?

There are several types of medical records that are restricted. Even when submitting a medical records release form as per the instructions of the managing facility, you will not be able to obtain this data. This is information that you are not legally guaranteed access to by the HIPPA Act and it includes:

  • Improvement or quality assessment records
  • Activity records for patient safety
  • Management records
  • Development records
  • Business planning records

This remains true, even when the data contained in these records pertains to your care.

How to Submit a Medical Release Form for Military Medical Records

If you want to obtain a complete copy of your military medical records, you will need to submit a special medical records authorization form known as a "Request to Obtain Military Records - SF-180". This request can be submitted to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Once approved, this form will give you access to both your medical records from the VA and your DD-214 or your proof of service as a military member.

What Are Military Medical Records?

Military records document all outpatient care received by former service members throughout the entirety of their active service.

These records also include all:

  • Dental services
  • Mental health services
  • Surgical procedures
  • Induction physical exams
  • Separation or discharge physical exams
  • Lab tests
  • Routine health exams

Contact Information for Veteran/Military Records

BranchDate Discharged or RetiredRequest Records FromContact Information
Army10/16/1992 to 12/31/2013Department of VA Records Management CenterDepartment of Veterans Affairs

ATTN: Release of Information Claims Intake Center

P.O. Box 4444 Janesville, WI 53547

On or after 01/01/2014AMEDD Record Processing CenterAMEDD Record Processing Center

3370 Nacogdoches Road, Suite 116

San Antonio, TX 78217

Navy01/31/1994 to 12/31/2013Department of VA Records Management CenterDepartment of Veterans Affairs

ATTN: Release of Information Claims Intake Center

P.O. Box 4444 Janesville, WI 53547

On or after 01/01/2014BUMED Navy Medicine Records ActivityNavy Medicine Records Activity (NMRA)

BUMED Detachment St. Louis

4300 Goodfellow Blvd., Building 103

St. Louis, MO 63120

Air Force05/01/1994 to 12/31/2013Department of VA Records Management CenterDepartment of Veterans Affairs

ATTN: Release of Information Claims Intake Center

P.O. Box 4444 Janesville, WI 53547

On or after 01/01/2014AF STR Processing CenterAF STR Processing Center

ATTN: Release of Information

3370 Nacogdoches Road, Suite 116

San Antonio, TX 78217

Marine Corps05/01/1994 to 12/31/2013Department of VA Records Management CenterDepartment of Veterans Affairs

ATTN: Release of Information Claims Intake Center

P.O. Box 4444 Janesville, WI 53547

On or after 01/01/2014BUMED Navy Medicine Records ActivityNavy Medicine Records Activity (NMRA)

BUMED Detachment St. Louis

4300 Goodfellow Blvd., Building 103

St. Louis, MO 63120

Submit Your Medical Records Release Form Using DoNotPay

DoNotPay makes it easy to submit a medical records release form. With the Request Medical Records product from DoNotPay, you don't have to worry about submitting an incorrect records release form, or submitting one that's missing essential information. As the world's first and most-trusted robot lawyer, DoNotPay is skilled in making this process seamless and hassle-free.

How to Request Medical Records Using DoNotPay

DoNotPay has seen these requests before and knows how to write your health care provider a simple, clear, and effective letter that will get your legally-guaranteed health records for you in no time.

  1. Look up medical records on DoNotPay's website. 
  2. Enter the name of the health care provider you'd like to receive medical records from. 
  3. Answer a few questions about your provider and where you'd like to send the records. 

DoNotPay Works Across All Entities, Companies, and Groups With Just One Click

Like most people, you probably receive health care from a number of different medical professionals. Making sure that each person on your healthcare team has access to all of your latest and most current medical information is vital for ensuring continuity of care and for preventing duplicate procedures.

Fortunately, DoNotPay can help you submit a release form for medical records to every clinic, private practice, hospital, or doctor that you work with. Best of all, DoNotPay works across entities, companies, and groups with just a single click. This means that in mere minutes, you can submit your requests for:

Gaining access to your physical or electronic health records are always quick and easy when you use DoNotPay.

You Can Use DoNotPay to Solve Many Other Problems

Whether you're having a hard time submitting a medical records release form on your own or need to request sick leave, DoNotPay has got you covered.

You can use DoNotPay to capably tackle a vast range of time-consuming, complicated, and frustrating tasks including:

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