General Question

kelly's avatar

What happens to medical files when you die?

Asked by kelly (1908points) February 24th, 2009

my dad died last year. I’ve recently completed health questionairs for doctor visit that ask about family history, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Can I or my mother get control of Dad’s health records? Or are the records destroyed or kept for a specific period of time?

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4 Answers

kevbo's avatar

You (more likely your mother) can get copies of your dad’s records. You’ll probably have to fill out a form that allows the provider to release the records. Normally, when someone requests records they are photocopied (at a cost to the requester), but since your dad is deceased it may be different. You will probably have to do a request for every provider that your dad visited (hospitals, docs, etc).

Usually records are kept for a number of years (seven maybe), so you should be fine. They may take a couple of weeks to get them to you.

I’m sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. My condolences.

augustlan's avatar

You will probably need a copy of the death certificate, too, to get the records.
You have my sympathy as well.

Dr_C's avatar

In most medical facilities… health records once inactive (either because of death, change of address, or simple patient abandonment) are kept a minimum of 5 years in hard copy. Those clinics with more money and/or newer infrastructure will sometime digitize these and keep an electronic file for however long they deem necesary or prudent in accordance to their storage capabilities. Hope this helps. My condolences about your dad… mine died in 2005… today would have been his 62nd birthday :(

kelly's avatar

Thanks for the thoughts. Since posting, I asked my insurance agent and she said that most health records are stored by the MIB Medical Information Bureau(??) and it is to this agency that insurers make contact to check on medical history. It may be compulation of all health insurance claims, not sure

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