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What is a Medical Records Request Form?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A medical records request form is a form which is filed to obtain copies of medical records. Patients are entitled to copies of their own medical records, as are parents or guardians of patients, beneficiaries, and personal representatives. Certain other people can be given access to medical records with permission, such as insurance companies or other care providers, in which case the patient usually needs to sign a release indicating that the records can be shared.

Many hospitals and medical offices have a specific medical records request form which patients can fill out to obtain a copy of their records. While using the form is not necessarily required, it can facilitate the process of getting the medical record. It is also possible to submit a formal written letter making a request, and generic medical records request forms are also available online for people who like more guidance.

Whether using a medical records request form or writing a letter, the patient needs to provide name, contact information, proof of identity, and specific information about the records being requested. Usually patients are required to pay a small fee when they request medical records. The fee compensates the office staff for gathering the record, making copies, verifying that all the information is present, and mailing or faxing it to the recipient.

When filing a medical records request form, patients can indicate that they want specific records, such as the records pertaining to a particular hospitalization, or they can ask for a complete copy of their medical records. This copy should include all notes made by the doctor, test results, entries in the patient's chart, and so forth. It will not include records held by other doctors, unless the patient is requesting complete records from a hospital or similar entity, in which case all records pertaining to the patient will be furnished.

After a patient files a medical records request form, it can take several weeks for the records to be gathered and supplied. If there is a rush, patients should make note of this, and they may be asked to pay a rush charge to get copies of their records in a hurry. It is a good idea to periodically request copies of medical records to verify that their contents are correct and to have them handy so that in an emergency, they will be readily available and there will be no need to scramble for records.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a MyLawQuestions researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By bythewell — On Jul 15, 2011

@KoiwiGal - It depends on where you live. A lot of places do have free medical records release forms online.

But, as it says in the article, if you can't find the proper form for your location online, you can always just write a letter which clearly contains the information that they need, like name and so forth. You can definitely find out what is required for that online as family planning clinics provide the information.

It sounds like you might need to write to every place you've had a checkup, or at least every place where something significant happened that you want the records of.

Unfortunately there isn't a central registry of all your records, they are just kept with individual clinics.

By KoiwiGal — On Jul 14, 2011

I really need to get organized and request my medical records. I've moved so much in the last few years that they are no doubt scattered all over the place. I keep thinking I'll get around to doing it, but I haven't so far.

I haven't been in the hospital or anything like that, but I have had several checkups with various things that needed to be done and I do have a long term condition, so it would be really useful to have the records in the same place and where I could get at them.

I suppose I need to get a medical records release form. Is there any way I can get one of those online?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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