It is not uncommon to experience a lot of confusion and difficulty when trying to get your medical records transferred to a new doctor or dentist. Because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (or HIPAA), you have complete authority to take your records with you when you move to a new city or change healthcare providers. With a little inside information and some tips, we can help make this process as smooth as possible.
Take it Step by Step
- Decide who you want to provide your records to, and then get all of the contact information for your new provider. Ask them how they typically receive patient records. Some offices are technologically savvy and some aren’t, so it’s best to know in advance what you’re dealing with.
- Decide what parts of the records you want to transfer. Dental? Just immunizations? More complex records associated with surgery, or just the bare minimum? You have complete control over what you have transferred, so be specific if you have particular records that are important to have. You can also ask your new doctor or dentist what records they require to be sure you get everything you need the first time around.
- Using whatever method your current practitioner uses, submit an authorization for the information. How long does it take to transfer medical records? That can depend a lot on what methods your doctor uses. Some offices are still using paper records while others are fully electronic, so you can probably guess which will be faster. Note that your practitioner is not allowed to charge you for transferring your records directly to another provider, but they can charge you an appropriate fee for copying and mailing records directly to you.
- Be persistent. Make a note to follow up with your practitioner to be sure they received your request and the transfer is in progress. Under HIPAA they have 30 days to complete your request, so don’t be shy about reminding them when the deadline is approaching.
- If you are transferring medical records when moving, be sure to keep them secure in a waterproof container or file. If you are storing them electronically, back them up in case something happens to your computer files in transit. You may also choose to keep this box with you in your personal vehicle rather than send it along with the moving truck so you can easily locate your records while unpacking.
Now that you’ve figured out how to transfer medical records between doctors, have a look at our tips for switching utilities in your new home!