How To Obtain Medical Records From A Nursing Home (Why They Are Important)
Obtaining medical records from nursing homes is not always a simple process. Nursing facilities may hesitate to provide documents that could serve as one of the most important pieces of evidence in a lawsuit against them in the future. And while most medical records are in electronic format, it is still challenging to request printed copies from a nursing home.
Moreover, family members’ medical records are governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws that provide data privacy and security of medical information.
If you're having trouble securing the medical records of a loved one from a particular facility, speak with a personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC who can provide the legal representation.
Call our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
A Nursing Facility Cannot Refuse a Request for Medical Records
In most cases, patients and their representatives may encounter delays with the requested record of their loved ones. Nursing homes may often require the approval of a particular person or entity before releasing medical details to the requesting party.
Nursing homes can face the consequences of refusing to issue or not promptly release the records. However, residents and their representatives may still need to pressure them to comply. Therefore, knowing one’s legal rights and whom to contact to access the medical records of a family member is crucial.
Must Provide Medical Records
Nursing facilities and healthcare professionals must give medical records to a resident according to the law. A family member or legal representative may also have the right to get a copy of the record in written or electronic form.
However, it is often difficult to obtain medical records, and a personal representative may need to comply with requirements set under the HIPAA.
Contact our attorneys for immediate legal advice if you are concerned about obtaining a loved one's medical records.
Both Federal Regulation and State Laws Impact How to Obtain Medical Records
Sometimes, family members, like a surviving spouse, feel that medical and other health information is personal and should be kept confidential even after death. Hence, the federal regulations on privacy grant rights over one’s health information and establishes restrictions on who can receive it.
The federal HIPAA Privacy Rule helps enforce standards in accessing medical records. The Privacy Rule provides patients with rights over their health records and limits who can request and receive an individual’s medical record.
Therefore, a representative can only access a loved one’s medical records after complying with federal and state law requirements.
Importance of Nursing Facility Records in Litigation
If you or a loved one has been mistreated or neglected in a nursing home, you may be wondering how to prove it. One of the steps to prove nursing home abuse or neglect is the residents’ medical records.
These records could serve as objective proof of the services and treatment provided to a nursing home resident and might be used as a foundation for medical malpractice lawsuits.
Securing Nursing Home Records FAQs
Our personal injury law firm understands many families have unanswered questions when obtaining records from a nursing home in obtaining medical records for a loved one. A lawyer from our law offices is answered some of those questions below.
How Do I Establish a Healthcare Power of Attorney?
A medical power of attorney is a health care directive where people name a particular person to make medical decisions on their behalf when they are too sick to decide for themselves.
Here are steps to establishing a general or durable medical power of attorney:
- Create a durable power of attorney and designate a trusted person, like a surviving spouse with the legal capacity to decide health-related matters on your behalf.
- Remember to designate someone whom you can trust to make sound decisions for you.
- Have the medical power of attorney notarized, and have witnesses sign the document to attest that you signed it of your own free will.
Remember that your agent, like a trusted family member, can make healthcare decisions for you with medical power of attorney. This document is vital in eliminating delays regarding the right of a representative to access medical records on behalf of another person.
How Do You Secure Nursing Home Records for a Living Resident?
Medical records include some of the most critical pieces of information for nursing home residents and their designated family members. Despite the data privacy rule, the law provides that facilities and health care providers have to release the resident’s medical records within a certain timeframe.
If residents request to examine any of their records in a nursing facility, they must receive the records according to the law after a request in oral or written form.
Patients no longer at an institution may issue a request in writing to access their records. The nursing home has 30 days to furnish the documents upon receiving the written request.
Nursing home patients may also fill out a release form based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The facility’s form allows qualified individuals to access a resident’s records in the nursing home.
How Do You Obtain Medical Records of a Deceased in a Nursing Home?
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects patients’ medical data even after death. However, a nursing home must give these records to a designated legal representative after complying with a specific process and procedure.
A point to remember is a power of attorney does not necessarily establish a personal representative status if it does not include healthcare decisions in its scope.
The personal representatives with a power of attorney can no longer obtain medical records in a nursing home without providing a death certificate and proof that they are the appropriate next of kin.
How Long Does a Nursing Home Keep Medical Records?
Different states across the country follow specific medical retention guidelines. For example, a nursing home in Illinois must retain health records for five years after the last date of services provided.
This timeline may not be the same in other states, such as Michigan, where nursing homes must maintain clinical records six years after discharge.
What Are the Types of Nursing Home Medical Records?
Nursing homes are expected to have well-organized and completed records for their patients. As part of the federal mandate for long-term care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid, the facility must maintain a long-term care minimum data set for a patient.
- Administrative data
- Physician orders and progress notes
- Care plan
- Nursing notes
- Medication and treatment administration records
- Therapy records
- Dietary records
- Nursing assistant documentation
- Minimum data sets
What You Can Do If a Nursing Home Denied Access to Medical Records: Talk With Our Law Office Today
It can be challenging to obtain nursing home patients’ records from a nursing facility even after the correct process and procedures. The surviving spouses and children of a patient have the right to obtain medical records after complying with specific guidelines set forth by law.
Nursing home attorneys can assist with this procedure by writing letters and filling out the power of attorney forms. Nursing homes might be likely to approve a request to obtain medical records when they receive a letter from an attorney threatening to take legal action if the medical records are not released.
The skilled nursing home attorneys at Rosenfeld Injruy Lawyers, LLC have been helping families in lawsuits involving nursing home neglect.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Resolve Nursing Home Negligence Issues
If you have concerns about a loved one in a nursing home, call a Chicago nursing home lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Please do not include any confidential information in a contact form, text message, or voicemail.