If your loved one is currently residing in or has resided in a nursing home, there are various reasons why you may need to obtain their medical records from that facility. In some cases, medical records are needed when a resident leaves a facility temporarily or permanently. However, medical records may also be needed if a resident was injured while at the nursing home. This could also include instances of suspected nursing home abuse. However, obtaining these records can seem challenging. Here, we want to discuss the main ways that nursing home residents and/or their family members can obtain medical records from the facility. Read on to learn more and if you have further questions or need help obtaining medical records from a nursing home, speak with a qualified nursing home abuse lawyer in Anaheim, CA.
Who Can Obtain Medical Records From a Nursing Home?
While the process of obtaining medical records from a nursing home may seem straightforward, it is important to do so promptly if you suspect abuse or neglect of a loved one inside of a facility. Additionally, you should report the abuse to appropriate law enforcement and regulatory agencies. Under federal law, residents of nursing homes and authorized third parties have the right to access the resident’s medical records. They also have the right to copy them (42 C.F.R. §§ 483.10(g)(2) and (g)(2)(ii)).
The resident inside of a nursing home, or one who has left the facility, is allowed to obtain their medical or financial records if they request them either orally or in writing from the facility. We strongly recommend that all requests to a nursing home or other long-term care facility be made in writing and that the person requesting the records keep a copy of the request.
The facility in question has 24 hours to provide a resident with access to their records upon receiving the request. In these cases, weekends and holidays do not count towards this 24-hour time constraint.
If a resident is seeking copies of their medical or financial records, they should let it be known that this is the case in that request. Facilities are allowed to charge residents 0.25 per page for these records.
An Authorized Third Party
Authorized third parties representing a resident have the same right of access to the resident’s medical and financial records. This is often necessary because some residents in nursing homes may be unable to handle their own medical and financial affairs and require assistance from others when doing so.
Under California law, an authorized third party can include the following individuals:
The parent of a minor resident
The guardian of a minor resident
The conservator of an adult resident
An agent of under a power of attorney for the resident’s health care decisions
An agent under power of attorney for the resident’s financial affairs
A family member authorized to make health care decisions on behalf of an impaired resident
Additionally, there are times when medical or financial records are needed after the death of a nursing home resident. In these cases, the administrator or executor of the estate will have access to these records as well.
Third-party access to medical and financial records can also be granted to other individuals so long as the resident allows such access by signing a release form. Just like the resident requesting access, a facility will have 24 hours to provide the third party with access to records after receiving the request.