Do I have legal rights to ask the nursing home for copies of my deceased mom's medical records? - AgingCare.com

Do I have legal rights to ask the nursing home for copies of my deceased mom's medical records?

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I did not know their dr was giving her drugs... my brother held POA and he did not pay much attention...her panic attacks were real but she had severe sensitivities to all drugs. My brother saw her acting fearful and it was drug side effects many times. He thought she was just getting worse on her own. I want to know how much they drugged her and what combo of drugs they gave her. I want to fight to have laws passed to prevent auto drugging and fight for good care for residents. I visited before her death (June 12th) andu mentioned pursuing legal action to help get her off Haldol to live coherently and the NH started hiding behind that word everytime I asked a question. Need to know where to start in requesting copies of all records covering 1 yr 10 months of her residency. What are my rights?

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I dont know the answerr but I found this article on the subject and thought that it may be of some help.

How to Obtain Medical Records of a Deceased Relative
By Doug Drowley, eHow Contributor

Medical records, even of a deceased individual, are generally protected. Only certain people are allowed to request medical records. Those people are relatives of the deceased, or certain representatives of those relatives. Here are a few ways to make the request.

Instructions

1 - Determine what type of business is holding the medical records. If the agency holding the medical records you want is a corporation, that will change to whom correspondence is addressed. If it is a corporation, address all request letters to the corporation and not to individual doctors.

2 - Contact the agency holding the records. Although you can make an initial call for the records, the likelihood of success by this method is low. However, you may be able to obtain the proper request forms by making a call. If a company holding the deceased's medical records has no specific forms, a request letter may suffice.

3 - Put the request in writing. Be as official as possible when making the request. Include as much of what you're trying to obtain as you can. For example, if you need medications that were given to the deceased, include a Medicinal Administration Request, or MAR.
Also, it may be prudent, especially if the records will be used in court, to create and include a Bates Number. A Bates Number is a unique serial number that is attached or stamped on every page of a document. It can include letters and numbers, and include such things as the date along with random characters.

4 - Use the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, which is available online. For the specific task of getting the medical records of a deceased relative, find an FOI request letter generator. This will give the requesting person or persons an example of the specific language to use for such a request.

5 - Ask the personal representative of the deceased's estate to get the information. Medical records do not belong to the estate, so the deceased's personal representative cannot approve or deny a request for the records. However, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, the legal representative for a deceased individual has the right to request those records.

6 - See a doctor. A doctor who is treating a relative of a deceased person, where the medical records of the deceased are related to the treatment of the relative, can request the medical records without a prior authorization. Like the personal representative, a doctor has this right under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

Tips & Warnings

Stay calm when talking to the agency holding medical records. Know that whoever answers the phone probably has no clue about such a request.

Don't talk to medical personnel. It is generally a waste of time. Do not hire a lawyer to make contact. This only makes corporations wary, fearing that you are going to sue them.
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I think this a very good question. Mom was in respite a year ago. And I found they were pumping her full of Xanax. she was a zombie until I got her home and off it.
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