Old medical records?

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:18 PM


Bob said he was born in 1940, and the Grand Haven hospital does not keep records that far back. The health information management director for the North Ottawa Community Health System, Mary Oomen, said their record retention policy is to keep minor records eight years after the age of 18.

But there may be a way to get older medical records.

Access to your personal medical records is guaranteed under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996.

From medicalrecords.com: "Under this law, patients may submit a medical records request, and the personal medical records must be provided within 30 days. Though originally designed to provide access to paper medical files, the law applies to accessing electronic medical records as well."

In an article for About.com, Trisha Torrey suggested contacting your state's medical society to obtain old records from a doctor no longer practicing, which is Bob's case. You can write the Michigan State Medical Society at 120 W. Saginaw St., East Lansing, MI 48823; or call 517-337-1351; or e-mail msms@msms.org.

"Someone at the medical society should be able to let you know what became of your doctor's practice, and will possibly know where the doctor's records are being housed," Torrey explained.

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