News 4 viewer denied medical records, demands answers

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by Mike Colombo / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 13 at 11:26 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Federal law states that citizens have a right to a copy of their medical records under HIPPA regulations. But when News 4 viewer Carol Jackson asked for her recorda from a local hospital, the hospital denied her request for copies.

Jackson spent two nights at DePaul Hospital last year in August. A few months later, she needed a copy of her medical records.

“The hospital said they couldn’t release the records to the patient or their family,” Jackson said.

DePaul states on their website that patients have a right to their records.

When Jackson questioned why she couldn’t get her own records, there was an even stranger answer.

“Because this doctor is denying it,” she said she was told. “The doctor that they said was the attending physician.”

Despite what the website says, Jay Moore, Director of Medical Affairs at DePaul says the law does allow physicians to deny records if they think releasing them is not in the patient’s best interest.

“The exceptions are not common in general, it’s an unusual circumstance,” he said. “The most commonplace that comes into play is when patients are in the behavioral health arena, so when they’re receiving mental health services.”

That was the case for Jackson, as she admitted herself after feeling depressed. After two days, she decided she did not need special care and left.

Now she is faced with an arduous process if she wants her records. Jackson can ask for a second opinion, and file an appeal with the hospital. If all else fails she can ask for a federal review. Despite the options, she still feels the process has been unfair.

“Why should I pay a lawyer a bunch of money to get a copy when patient's rights say I should be able to get it?”

 

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