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Releasing Records at Your ND Practice

As a doctor, you may have received requests from patients for their records. The release of records requires adherence to federal and state guidelines, as well as HIPAA regulations. These guidelines and regulations present a good reason for having a process.

As a doctor, you may have received requests from patients for their records. The release of records requires adherence to federal and state guidelines, as well as HIPAA regulations.

These guidelines and regulations present a good reason for having a process.

Starting a Release of Records Process

Another important reason to have a policy for releasing records is your malpractice insurance coverage. It is good to have a policy with corresponding procedures that addresses the release of records, especially when the request arrives from an attorney. 

Having a limited number of individuals responsible for releasing records is a good first step to maintain consistency. Additional areas to consider for release of records policies and procedures are:

  • Patient authorizations—what is acceptable in various situations (such as minors, emancipated minors and deceased patients)
  • Court orders
  • Federal/state specific protections (such as mental/drug/HIV conditions)
  • When to notify the doctor and/or office manager of requests
  • Priority requests and timeframes for release
  • Maintaining a log that indicates:
    • What is the patient’s name?
    • Who requested the information (e.g., patient, parent, guardian or attorney)?
    • When was the request received?
    • What information was released?
    • Who released the information?
    • Which information was released and by what means?
    • What fees were charged?

Not only should your practice have this process in place, but also any staff members should be trained on your release of records policies each year.

If you have questions about releasing records, as a policyholder, call NCMIC's Claims Advice Hotline at 800-952-9935.

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