How do I get all my health/medical records from hospitals and doctors
August 27, 2016 9:54 PM   Subscribe

I'll try to keep this brief. I will likely be moving to Southern-Europe and will need to form new relationships with new doctors. Now, what from what I've been advised - they told me they want everything since I have multiple issues (PTSD from war, Anxiety over loud bangs/sounds, fireworks, Phobia of small places..) had a couple of MRIs after my car being rear-ended as well. So is it as simple (I like in Mass) as emailing/calling them and asking me to send me all my records? I don't even know what records holds. Is it what things they diagnosed me with, blood results, my medication, my MRI results. Stuff like that? Does it cost anything? Any help is extremely appreciated. Thank you all!
posted by bostonhill to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Many hospitals and larger doctors' offices will have a standard form that you fill out to request a copy of your medical records. It's a standard process. Usually you'll have to sign something authorizing the release of your records.

Calling the office is a good place to start; they can tell you what the standard procedure is in their practice.
posted by mekily at 10:09 PM on August 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

They also probably have a standard summary of treatment that they send along when a patient leaves the practice that just has the information relevant going forward. When my elderly mother moved to a new state, her former doctor gave her something that was about a dozen pages that included a brief summary of major medical events and treatment history for current diagnosis but certainly less than her full and complete medical record. You might have make a separate request if you want a copy of the actual MRI, rather than a summary of the doctor's opinion.

This is a common situation so, I would call on the phone to find out the procedure for your particular doctor(s).
posted by metahawk at 10:54 PM on August 27, 2016

Yeah I did this when I moved. My doctors all gave me a form to fill out. Be careful though- one of my doctors had fine print about how they used a copy service and they then tried to charge me like $150 for my records even though I told them to call me first. Anyway step one is to call all your doctors. They will explain what kinds of records they keep and what you need to do.
posted by FireFountain at 10:54 PM on August 27, 2016

Best answer: I just moved from Somerville to India. I sent in written requests well ahead of when I was leaving. I was charged for my records from UMassMemorial but not from Mt. Auburn. YMMV.

Only advice - get the process started well before you need to move since it is more likely than not that the process is outsourced and they might lose your paperwork requesting the release. I had 3 requests sent to UMassMemorial all lost.

You can try and expedite the process by saying you are moving abroad.

Memail me for specifics.
posted by rippersid at 12:17 AM on August 28, 2016

They will ask for money for the expense of having the records copied - any time I've transitioned health care services they've stipulated a fee is involved. But yeah, just tell them you're moving abroad for a few years and will need a copy of your medical records to continue treatment.
posted by lizbunny at 5:31 AM on August 28, 2016

Best answer: Some doctors will also try to charge you a fee if the records are for you but will waive it if they are sending the records directly to another physician. If you tell them you're moving internationally and don't have a new doctor lined up yet that might make a difference. (Or it might not. Sometimes bureaucracy is a pain in the butt.) And yes, it will be all your test results, plus your doctor's notes. If you want CDs of things like MRIs or CT scans (and not just the written summary reports) make sure you ask about including those when you request your records. They should be included by default, but asking first is easier than having to go back and ask a second time.
posted by MsMolly at 10:23 AM on August 28, 2016

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