Medical Record Morons

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Posted by CyndiS ( on March 15, 2000 at 18:27:26:

In Reply to: Hum drum freek fi fo fum posted by Carl D on March 15, 2000 at 10:41:25:


I've worked as a consultant in Medical Records Departments across the country for almost 23 years now and believe me they all have their fair share of morons.

If you ever have the unfortunate need to request your records again, I have the following suggestions for you:
1) Call the Medical Record Dept. first and ask for the Director's name and phone number. Hold on to this info. for future reference.

2) Call the hospital's Department of Legal Affairs or Administration and ask them what the state's policy is on release of information and requests for copies of medical records. Ask whoever you speak with for their name.

3) Call the Medical Record Dept. and ask to speak with the supervisor of the Correspondence Clerk. Get her name and direct phone number.

4) When you speak with the supervisor, explain what you need, be sure to ask when the records will be ready and what the charge will be, if any. If the supervisor begins to give you an attitude or a tough time, let him/her know that you spoke with Ms./Mr. Legal Affairs/Administration and they said that you could have copies of your records. This is usually enough to get the clerks off of their butts and moving.

5) If you still don't get any results, call the Dept. of Finance or Administration again and let them know what happened. Most hospitals now have a Patient Affairs Dept. to handle any patient complaints or problems. Give them a try also.

6) Document names, phone #s, times of calls, what you asked and what you were told in case the clerk or anyone tries to deny ever talking with you.

7) Contacting The Joint Commission For The Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, (JCAHO)might be another avenue to explore. JCAHO grants accreditation to hospitals only if the facility is in compliance with their standards. If their standards aren't met, the hospital can be put on warning or even shut down. JCAHO is usually interested in hearing about patient's opinions and complaints. If you think you might need the phone number, let me know. All Medical Record Depts. fear JCAHO, believe me.

8) To avoid paying the photocopying costs that the Medical Record Dept. usually charges, you can try these ideas. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, ask him/her to request a copy of your records and them give them to you. Another idea is to tell the correspondence clerk that you need copies of your records because you are going to see another doctor and he/she requested that you bring them with you to the appointment. Remember that each state and even each hospital has their own rules and regulations so what I wrote should not be taken as gospel. Also, some states have to let you read your medical records. You might have to stay in the Medical Record Dept. to read them but at least it's a start.

If there is anything else I can help with, please let me know. Hope some of this will make at least one part of your battle a little easier.

I wish you the best and will be rooting for you.


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