Article written by
Diana FolletteDirector of Patient Success
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
- How to Request a Copy of Your Medical Records
- Who Can Request Medical Records for Medical Marijuana Patients?
- What Healthcare Records Can Be Provided?
- Can Any Health Records Be Withheld from Being Provided?
- Does It Cost Anything to Request My Health Records?
- How Long Does It Take to Receive My Medical Health Records?
- Which Conditions Can Qualify for Medical Marijuana?
Different states have different requirements for getting a medical marijuana card. In all cases, you will need to provide evidence of the condition you suffer from to qualify for medical cannabis. The sorts of documentation that are acceptable include:
- Electronic medical records (EMR)
- Doctor’s notes
- Medical test results
- Lab reports
- Progress notes
- Medical images (e.g. MRIs, X-rays)
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How to Request a Copy of Your Medical Records
According to the Health insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) of 1996, you have the right to obtain copies of your medical records, whether they are maintained electronically or on paper. These include doctor’s notes, medical test results, lab reports, and billing information.
To successfully get your medical records, you will need to fill out a release form, which should be available at the hospital or clinic you are seeking treatment. Your healthcare provider’s Health Information Management (HIM) Department can provide you with the authorization form specific to your hospital. Many hospitals and clinics allow the authorization form to be filled out online.
Once you have your authorization form, you will need to provide your address, date of birth, social security number, and phone number. You may also be asked to provide the treatment dates, the documents you want to be released, and your reasons for requesting the records.
Most practices or facilities will ask you to fill out a form to request your medical records. This request form can be collected at the office or delivered by fax, postal service, or email. However, you can technically also write a letter to make your request. You will need to include:
- Your full name
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Address and phone number
- Email address
- The list of records being requested
- The dates of service
- Delivery option (fax, post, email, in person)
- Your signature
Who Can Request Medical Records for Medical Marijuana Patients?
According to HIPAA, other than the patient themselves, the following people may be granted access to your medical records if you have given them permission to do so:
- The parent or guardian of the patient if the patient is a minor. In some states, reproductive and sexual history is unavailable to parents if their child is 12 years or over.
- A caregiver or advocate who has obtained permission from the patient. Sometimes, the health care provider will provide you with a permission form the patient must complete.
- Your primary care physician.
- Third-party entities to whom you may have granted access to your medical records. This can include insurance companies, hospitals, labs, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and billing providers. In some cases, mobile apps that are monitoring your health.
What Healthcare Records Can Be Provided?
- Any notes or records created by a provider.
- Any diagnostic results for which a provider has copies. This can include blood tests, X-rays, mammograms, genetic tests, biopsies, and other such tests.
- Any information provided by another doctor that was used to establish a diagnosis and/or direct treatment
Records are usually kept for about 6 years.
Can Any Health Records Be Withheld from Being Provided?
Yes, requests for some types of medical records may be denied. Medical records may be withheld if they are:
- Psychotherapy notes. These are not always included in your medical record. However, if you have been prescribed medication for a psychiatric problem, this will show up on your health records.
- Being used to compile a case for a lawsuit.
You can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services if you feel you have been unfairly denied.
Does It Cost Anything to Request My Health Records?
This can differ according to state, but yes, it does. States usually charge between 25 cents and 75 cents per printed page.
How Long Does It Take to Receive My Medical Health Records?
Electronic records can be viewable almost immediately. Printed copies can take some time to be processed and sent and can take up to 30 or even 60 days to arrive, depending on the state and the number of records requested. In most cases, though, it is sent within the week.
Which Conditions Can Qualify for Medical Marijuana?
Different states have different qualifying conditions. The following conditions are likely to qualify you in pretty much every state with a medical marijuana program:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Severe Arthritis
- Cancer and Chemotherapy
- Chronic Pain and Opioid Replacement
- Crohn’s Disease, Lupus, Type-I Diabetes, and other Autoimmune Disorders
- Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy (Nerve Pain)
- Epilepsy or any other Seizure Disorder
- Severe Headaches or Migraines
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
- Spinal Cord Injuries or Diseases
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) / Stroke
- Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)
- Terminal illnesses where the patient has been given a year or less left to live
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