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Getting Copies of Migraine Medical Records – Our DaM Data

If we’re going to see a new doctor for our Migraines, or if we’re traveling, having our medical records can become not just handy, but necessary.

Diana has written about our rights under HIPAA, including the fact that medical providers must supply us with a copy of our records within 30 days or our written request. Ellen has written about electronic medical records.

What I didn’t realize until today is that Leon Rodriguez, who is the Director of the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services issued a wonderful memo about our rights to our medical records last year. It begins:

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Office of the Secretary Director
Office for Civil Rights
Washington, D.C. 20201

May 31, 2012
Message from Leon Rodriguez, Director, Office for Civil Rights

Many consumers want to play a more active role in their health care. The right to see and get a copy of your medical records (called the right to access) is fundamental to your ability to participate in our health care system. For this reason, I know how important it is for you to be able to get your medical records. I see the value of access to health information every day as the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) does its vital work as the primary protector of the privacy and security of that information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

For example, when military families are transferred, they need their medical records to help find the very best doctors and specialists or to enroll their children in a new school. Busy parents need to be able to keep track of all of their own and their children’s doctor visits. Health information is critical to all patients so that they can track their progress through wellness programs, monitor chronic conditions, communicate with their treatment teams, and adhere to their important treatment plans. Important tools like Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Personal Health Records (PHRs) will make it easier, safer, and faster for you to get access to your health information and stay engaged. These tools help you become a true partner in your health care and wellness.

I also know that, all too often, consumers face barriers to getting their health information – and the first barrier is that many do not know their rights.

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To read the rest of this memo, including some very helpful links to both information and valuable videos, download the full Right of Access Memo.

To give credit where it’s due, Dave deBronkart, better know as E-Patient Dave, told me about the memo. Dave is probably the most active patient advocate I’ve ever met, and one of his main platforms is our DaM data, which is “Data about Me.” To inspire us and give us some smiles and chuckles today, I want to share a video with you…

Now, here’s a bit of an action plan for us all:

  1. Bookmark this post so we can watch the video whenever we need to get fired up about our DaM data.
  2. Download and save the memo from the link above and check out the links in it.
  3. Visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Health Information Privacy web site for more information about our rights to our medical records.

With the information from the memo and web site and the video to encourage us, we’ll be better prepared to get copies of our medical records and meet any resistance we may encounter.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Health Information Privacy web site.