There are numerous reasons to request your medical, social, and psychiatric records from the home, the agency or the facilitator of your surrender. The records belong to you. Your name, your history are there, as recorded by others. That is the record of the assessment that others made of you that made it possible to take your child. It is the record of the medications that were given to you. It is your life, and it is in someone else’s control.
Having your records, which you have every right to have, is educational and healing to mothers. It provides a picture of the time. It can trigger memories, emotions and ideas that will help you to heal the wounds the experience caused. It puts you in control of your healing rather than leaving it in the hands of others, who may or may not have your best interest in mind. It is empowering!
Another reason to demand your records is that they are evidence. Currently, adopters are suing agencies for not providing full or correct information about the children they adopted. They are winning those cases. The agencies are nervously anticipating the mothers because they know that mothers have more of a case for complaint than the adopters. If the adopters are winning their court cases, how much more nervous do the mothers make them? All the proof is in the records.
METHODS TO USE:
Use the HIPAA Laws! The HIPAA Laws simply state that we own our own medical information. Our files are not the property of the agency, the physicians, the insurance companies or any other entity other than us. If we own them, we have a right to access them.
There are generic HIPAA Requests for Records online that can be used to send for them. You can also have your physician or therapist send a request, with your signed release. They have the forms in their offices that can be used to do so. You can also have an attorney send a request, but that usually is not necessary. They are your records and you have a right to them.
Often, the initial response to your request will be that the records are no longer available due to the time passed. They will tell you that the records have been destroyed. That statement is sometimes true, but usually only a partial truth. Due to space limitations, older, paper records are indeed destroyed, but not before they are put on microfiche. The transfer to microfilm and the transfer to destruction will be recorded by both the party that sends them for those actions and the parties to whom the records are transferred. If your requests are repeatedly denied, ask for a copy of the records of destruction. Don’t accept their word, and don’t hesitate to go up the chain of command. You are asking for nothing more than what is your right. Persist.
GENERIC HIPAA REQUEST FOR RECORDSTo use this, copy and paste these two pages into a Word Document, fill in with the appropriate information in the blanks and send to anyone who might have your medical records. Send separate copies to the Home, if they are still there, the agency or attorney that handled the adoption, the physician that delivered your child, and the hospital where you delivered. Keep a copy of the form, and record the date that you send it.
Consider sending it “Return Receipt Requested” from the post office, which only costs a few cents, but is proof that it was received. There is a maximum amount of time in which your HIPAA request must be honored, so this step also insures that you have proof of they are in violation.
Each state has a fee that they allow for copying, so check your states laws in this regards. The fees are minor, usually no more than $25.00 or so. Keep calling, be persistent and don’t take ‘NO’ for an answer. Make them prove that they don’t have your records.
*****PAGE 1*****[current date]
[NAME OF HOSPITAL] (ALL CAPS)
Attention: Medical Records—Release of Information
Re: Your patient: [your name] (f.k.a. [list any former names])
Date of Birth: [date]
Social Security Number: [number]
Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter is written to request medical records of [YOUR NAME], formerly known as [your maiden name, or any other names you might have gone by—this helps them to locate you easier] during my childbirth on [DATE].
Please provide a complete copy of my medical records file, from cover to cover, including all reports, consultations, nursing notes, MD notes or orders, history questionnaires, prenatal records, or any other records in the file. This record may be on microfilm or microfiche. Please check all sources for my records.
According to HIPAA, Section 164.524, I am invoking my rights to obtain a complete copy of my medical record. Enclosed please find a HIPAA compliant authorization to release my medical records to me.
Please let me know via FAX [YOUR FAX NUMBER] or email at [YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS] if you incur any charges in filling this request and you will be promptly reimbursed.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Very truly yours,
HIPAA AUTHORIZATION for RELEASE of MEDICAL RECORDSTO: [name of hospital]
SPECIFIC INFORMATION REQUESTED: a complete copy of my medical records file from cover to cover, including all nursing or MD notes, orders, diagnostic test reports, history questionnaires, prenatal records, or any other records in this file.
PURPOSE OF THE REQUEST: my personal use
RE: [YOUR NAME]
You, and any person associated with you, are hereby authorized to give to: [MY NAME], any and all information which may be requested regarding my physical condition and treatment rendered by you.
I understand that I have the right to revoke this authorization, in writing, except to the extent that the provider has previously provided information. I understand that pursuant to the HIPAA Privacy Regulation, no treatment, payment, or eligibility for benefits from a covered entity has been conditioned upon the execution of this authorization. I understand that if the provider is covered by the HIPAA Privacy Regulation, once the provider discloses the protected health information, it may no longer be protected by the regulation.
A photocopy of this authorization shall serve in its stead. This authorization expires in one year from the date of the authorization.
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