Medical Records

Your medical record is an important part of your health care experience. It serves as a basis for planning your care and treatment, a means of communication for the healthcare professionals contributing to your care, legal documentation describing the care you received, verification of services and treatment covered by your insurance, and basic data for health research and education.

The information found in medical records is confidential. Patients confide in their physicians because they are assured of this confidentiality and might not share the necessary personal information if this privilege did not exist. Health care workers are mandated by law and by professional standards to protect patient confidentiality. There are also state and federal laws to protect information related to specific diagnoses such as psychiatric/psychological, treatment of substance abuse (drugs and alcohol), and AIDS/HIV. By Florida law, medical records must be retained for a minimum of eight years. Some records are retained longer.

Making a Request for your Medical Records

You have the option to request your records in multiple formats:

  • You can download, print, and complete the Authorization for Release of Information form and send it to the Health Information Management Department (HIM) if you would like us to prepare your records to be picked up, sent to your doctor, burned to CD or mailed to your address.
  • This form is also available in the Health Information Management Office in the hospital Clinical Center if you would like to obtain copies of your medical records in person.

Medical Record Access and Fees

Records are released after discharge and upon completion. We only fax medical records to other health care providers. You may review your medical record by appointment only. An hourly fee may apply. Under Florida law you may be charged a fee of up to $1.00 per page (plus applicable tax and handling) for every page copied. Your cost may be reduced by asking for specific documents or a record abstract (all recent major reports) rather than the entire record. The copying fee is waived for copies provided directly to a healthcare provider for continuing medical care. We strive to provide a copy of your health information usually within seven days of your request.

Medical Records Consent

Although your record is the physical property of the hospital, you or your legal representative controls the release of the information contained in the record. Written consent to access medical records must be less than one year old. In general, you must give consent for anyone, other than a member of your healthcare team, to receive or have access to your medical record. However, by law, your records may be disclosed without your consent under certain circumstances such as in response to a subpoena or court order, to certain government and regulatory bodies, to someone who holds your power of attorney, to someone you have designated as your health care surrogate, to another health care provider for continued care, and to your health care insurer to obtain reimbursement for your care. We are required by law to maintain the privacy and security of your medical record. We will not use or share your information other than as described in our Joint Notice of Privacy Practices unless you tell us we can in writing. If you tell us we can, you may change your mind at any time.

By law, only an adult (age 18 or older) patient or a legally designated representative has the authority to release the information contained in a medical record about them, regardless of who is paying the bills. Legally designated representatives include court-appointed guardians or others with power of attorney for the patient. For children under age 18, only a parent or court appointed guardian may authorize release of medical information, however if the minor is emancipated, they can request their own records.

When the status of an expired patient has been verified, the next of kin or legally designated representative (whose identity must be verified) of the estate may request the expired patient’s records. By Florida law, medical records must be retained for a minimum of seven years.

If you have any questions, please contact Health Information Management department at 904-244-2596

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