How can I get my records from former doctors?

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Question:

I used to go to a doctor in Colorado. Then I moved to California and went to another doctor. I signed a release for the California doc to obtain records from the one in Colorado.

Later on, I had to go to yet another doctor, who asked me for all pertinent past records.

To get the ball in motion, I sent a certified letter to the California doctor and asked for the records she had obtained from the Colorado doctor.

She sent a certified letter back saying that she was prohibited by law from giving me these records and that I had to go directly to the Colorado doctor to obtain them. I do not want her to keep these records, and I need them for my new physician.

Is it true that the law forbids her from turning my own medical records over to me or a new doctor of my choice?

Answer:

Legally, you have a right to a copy of your medical records. But it is also true that you will have to go back to the original doctor that you saw for many types of medical records.

Your new doc should have no problem getting records from both of the old docs with nothing more than your signed consent form. But all evaluations and test results must come from the original source, and you, the former patient, must ask for them directly. Another person can procure those records for you only if you have given him or her a medical power of attorney. You shouldn't be charged more than a nominal fee for staff time and copying, and you should receive the information within the week.

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