Who Has Your Medical Records?



Who Has Your Medical Records?

It’s 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. You have an appointment with a new specialist. Do you know where your medical records are?

If your answer is anything other than in your possession, your health could be in danger. To be sure that a true portrait of your health is provided to any and every physician who treats you, you have to take charge and provide them with accurate and complete medical records including all tests, lab results, information regarding procedures, surgeries, and physician notes.

Records get lost. Notes are often placed in the wrong patient files. Physicians and their office staff don’t always get your records to the physician you are going to see by the time of your appointment.

Don’t believe me? I know of one case where a young man went to the emergency room to be treated for a broken ankle. When he asked for a copy of his treatment records to give to his insurance company for payment on a claim, they denied his payment because according to his records he had not been treated for a broken ankle, but rather had had a hysterectomy while at the hospital. It took him months to get his medical records corrected.

We are keenly aware that we need to protect our identity from theft. We know we must guard our credit reports from false information. Few of us are as diligent with our medical records.

In August 1996 the HIPAA law was passed by the federal government. Part of that law guarantees patients access to their medical records. As a patient living with a chronic illness, you need to take full advantage of that law.

In 2002 I was in congestive heart failure, had fluid in my lungs, and required specialized care at a University Medical Center. That center was requesting all of my medical records regarding this illness. I was diagnosed in 1992. That’s 10 years worth of records I had to gather beforeI could be treated. Physicians who used to be with one group were now out on their own. Physicians had closed their practices. Physicians had moved. It was a daunting task, one that I will never have to face again.

I successfully gathered all of those records, which are now in 3 ring binders in my house as well as scanned for permanent storage. Each time I see any of my doctors, I ask for a copy of the records including lab findings and physician notes and add them to the binder. I am a complete patient who has a complete record of my medical history.

Each time you see a doctor or visit a treatment center, ask them for a copy of your records from that day including the physician notes. Keep these records together in a folder, a binder, or a notebook.  No one cares as much about your health as you do and no one is going to be as diligent about your medical records as you are.


From the life of Wanda M. Argersinger

© 2015 All Rights Reserved



Wanda M. Argersinger was diagnosed with lupus in 1992. She became the Executive Director of The Lupus Support Network, Inc., in 2003 when lupus forced her to leave her career as a network engineer. She has been writing since the age of 6, currently writing two blogs about lupus, and one blog dedicated to life and the humorous things that happen to all of us.

Wanda M. Argersinger, Executive Director

The Lupus Support Network
PO Box 17841
Pensacola FL 32522-7841

850.478.8107 or 800.458.8211


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