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Medical Records
updated: Dec 07, 2012, 12:25 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I'm curious if any edhatters can help answer my question. My physician has apparently retired. I was unaware of this until last week when I called to schedule an appointment. The last time I saw her was January of this year. She made no mention of retiring. My concern is that I need a prescription refilled. Are my medical records available to other doctors or do I need to go the through hassle and expense of having an entire blood work panel all over again ?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 351388 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 12:34 PM

It depends on a lot of things. If your PCP is at a clinic like Sansum, you should be fine. If she was in private practice, only other providers in the same office will have access to your chart. In order for your new MD to get access to your old chart, you'll have to sign a waiver. Depending on where your blood was drawn (Quest, PDL), certain offices have electronic access to lab results. Good luck, and be well.


 COMMENT 351395 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 12:49 PM

351388 entirely correct. Since it's been a year since your evaluation, it's in your best interest to re-check. Your diabetes, thyroid, lipid medicine, etc. may need to be changed--a lot can happen in a year. Make a habit of getting a copy of all your blood work & radiographic studies.


 COMMENT 351397 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 12:53 PM

There's that whole HIPPA thing, but, if you sign a waiver...you should be able to get your records copied to your new doctor. And I also agree with 388 and 395


 COMMENT 351432 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 02:11 PM

It is my impression that your medical records are yours. You can get a copy any time. What you do with the records is your choice.


 COMMENT 351445 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 03:26 PM

Sansum is great, they have the "MyChart" online database. You, or any doctor within Sansum, can login from anywhere and get all your test results, schedule and see upcoming appointments, write a note to your doctor, everything. Love it.


 COMMENT 351450 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 03:29 PM

388 here, just wanted to add something. Although it can be quite nice to have a PCP in private practice, being a patient at a larger clinic like Sansum has huge benefits. Like 445 mentioned, their new electronic medical record system, Epic, is fantastic. When you are referred to a specialist w/in the clinic, they have access to all of your records, including labs, radiological exams, etc. Just something to think about.


 COMMENT 351468 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 03:54 PM

HIPPA is for protecting your medical records from the unlicensed, the public or those not treating you with your permission.

So, yes, all you need to do is sign over the right to access and they will forward your records from one doctor to the next. If the doc you're seeing decides the bloodwork is out of date for what you're being treated for they may ask you to submit to more bloodwork, or tests from their preferred lab (different labs can have dramatically different level ranges, so it makes sense sometimes.)

Sansum is only great if you want to be bounced between doctors there. They're actually one of the worst in terms of sending stuff out to other doctors outside sansum. It drags on forever!


 COMMENT 351476 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 04:06 PM

Retired doctor's must keep medical files for 7 years or so. Your new doctor can have their staff Gertrude the records for you.


 COMMENT 351487 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 04:21 PM

Your medical records (alongside your other private and personal information) are already in the databanks of countless marketing companies, the credit card collection agencies, banks, internet scammers, and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and other parties, bth here in the US and overseas, all available for whoever wishes to pay for it. That includes any unscrupulous or criminal entity with the right connections and privileges. That's todays world - the horse bolted the stable quite a few years ago and there's nothing that the powers-that-be can (or wish) to do about it.


 COMMENT 351568P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 08:42 PM

And Sansum is also difficult if you want to find out beforehand how much a procedure will cost you. My doctor recommended a colonoscopy. I asked Sansum how much it would cost? Never got an answer; doctor said she didn't know and wasn't involved with the $ decisions. ...End result, unable to find out how much I would have to pay over and above my insurance, I didn't get it done. So much for all the high tech information they boast as available.


 COMMENT 351581P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 09:44 PM

568P - You showed THEM!


 COMMENT 351612 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-08 06:41 AM

I have had no problem in getting copies of my records, even for years back, from Sansum. They have a records office that specializes in just that service. Records for UCLA were free. Otherwise, you pay by the page.

Obamacare is paying doctors to go to electronic records. The problem is that there are no standards. Each software company has its own data format. At this time there are two or three major software packages, and several smaller programs. They do not talk to each other.

That will change, but it will take a year or two for some independent company to jump in and fill the need.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-08 09:43 AM

487, what you say about marketers having your medical records is not true.

OP, whoever took over the practice of your retired MD should still have your records, which can be forwarded to your new doc as a courtesy--should not be a charge for that.

But after 11 months new blood work is probably in order.


 RHS agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-08 10:24 AM

MTNDRIVER, what you say about marketers having access to our medical records is not true. Drug companies get the information from the Drs. State legislation to prohibit this in some places was stopped by the US S Ct on some theory of free speech or other bizarre interpretation of corporate personhood.


 COMMENT 351722 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-08 10:59 AM

HIPAA is irrelevant here, you always have had to consent to get records sent elsewhere. And prescriptions expire in a year so you need to see a new physician now- even with records no one will refill your meds without seeing you.

Your retired physician has to maintain access to medical records. Even if she doesn't have associates she may have sold or given away her practice, with the recipient required to maintain access to records. The medical society may know who has the records, or call around to other physicians to ask if anyone knows. The labs who did your blood work keep records that can be transferred to a new physician with your release. If you are healthy, which may be the case if you haven't been to your physician for a year, there may not be much in your records that a new physician may need to know!


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-08 03:12 PM

This link seems like a good source of information about the privacy of medical records. Read for yourself and see what you think:



 COMMENT 351879P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-09 08:24 AM

I had a strong recommendation for a colonoscopoy from my private gynecologist, since my mother died form colon and liver cancer at the young age of 55. I was petrified, but I walked through the fear, and asked my PCP at the County about it, and he agreed that the test was a good one, and referred me on. I finally did had the test done. It was done in a breeze, no pain at all, by Dr. Argonne. I highly recommend him. No pain, no gain, but there was NO PAIN AT ALL. And, he snipped off 3 polyps which could have turned cancerous. Glory be. They also had the nicest nurses on this planet.


 COMMENT 351982 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-09 03:27 PM

I really don't think the paranoid rants are necessary to answer the op's question about getting his/her records. I do think it was pretty rude to not have notification. I have always been notified with a referral to another doctor taking over the practice.


 COMMENT 352377 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 02:30 PM

982: Yeah, that's weird. It's not normal to not notify pts of this. Call them & ask who has your records. You can also ask for a copy of your records for yourself, then make a copy to give to whatever doc you choose later. But yeah, after 11 months, you're coming up on your annual anyway. Maybe they'll refill for another month, but anyone on medication should be seen yearly, generally speaking. And you probably should post her name in case others see this doc & also don't know she retired.


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