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We understand that keeping health records confidential is important to you. Here are some frequently asked questions to help explain how we handle our patients' health records and how you can make sure you have the access you need to your own personal record.
Q: Who owns my medical record?
A: The information in your health record belongs to you; however, Martha Jefferson Hospital maintains the record of the care provided to you.
Q: How long are my records kept?
A: Martha Jefferson Hospital keeps outpatient records for 10 years and inpatient records up to 25 years.
Q: Who has access to my medical record?
A: Individuals participating in your care have access to your records to help them best provide for your healthcare needs. After you receive treatment, other Martha Jefferson Hospital personnel performing the record-keeping duties will also have access to your record. In either case, access is limited to the employees who need to know the information as it relates to performing their job.
Q: Are my records released outside Martha Jefferson Hospital?
A: Records are not released to a third party unless you have signed an authorization to allow this to occur; however, physicians involved with your care are allowed access to your record.
Q: How is my information safeguarded against unauthorized access?
A: Martha Jefferson Hospital safeguards your record in three ways. First, paper records are stored in a secured, locked area with restricted access. Second, employees are only allowed access to records when they have a "need to know". This is determined by the type of job they are doing as it relates to your care. Third, all employees are required to sign a confidentiality statement. Each employee signs this statement, which clearly outlines their responsibility regarding confidentiality.
Q: Do you release any information verbally?
A: The only information HIM Department releases verbally is the patient's date of admission and/or date of discharge.
Q: Will you fax copies of my record to my home or office?
A: No. We cannot fax medical records due to confidentiality issues.
Q: Should I keep a copy of my health record?
A: Keeping key documents from your health record is the best way to assure that you will have ready access to the medical information when you need it. Although it is not necessary to get copies every time you visit your doctor, you should consider getting copies of operative reports, discharge summaries, and significant tests from any hospital visit.
Q: Can my spouse request and receive copies of my medical record?
A: No. Another person may not receive copies of your medical record without a consent form authorizing Martha Jefferson Hospital to release copies to him or her.
Q: May I get a copy of a family member's medical record?
A: Only the patient may release his/her record(s). However, if you have Power of Attorney (POA), or you are the executor of the patient's estate, you may submit an Authorization for Release of Information
along with a copy of the legal document, designating POA or executor rights.
Q: I am going to another healthcare provider and would like my records sent to this physician. What do I need to do?
A: You will need to submit a completed Authorization for Release of Information form to have copies of your medical record mailed to that provider, free of charge. You will need to include the name and address of the healthcare provider. There is no charge for copies of your medical record for continuity of care.
Q: I would like to know my blood type. Is this information in my medical record?
A: You must contact your physician's office for assistance. We do not keep private physician office medical records.
Q: Can you explain the charges on my bill?
A: Your medical records do not contain billing statements. Our Central Billing Office can help you with this information.