Accessing Your Records
Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or other healthcare provider, the provider makes a record of it. Typically, this record contains your health history, current symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your medical record, serves as a:
- Basis for planning your care and treatment
- Means of communication among health professionals who care for you
- Legal document describing the care you received
- Means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that you actually received the services billed
- Tool in medical education
- Source of information for public health officials
- Tool to assess the appropriateness and quality of care you received
- Tool to improve the quality of healthcare and achieve better patient outcomes
Understanding what is in your health record and how your health information is used helps you to:
• Ensure its accuracy and completeness
• Understand where, when, why, and how others may access your health records
• Make informed decisions about authorizing disclosure to others
• Better understand the health information rights
Patients have the right to obtain a copy of their medical records from Lakeland Health. You must submit your request in writing. This may be accomplished one of two ways.
Submit a letter of request. In order for us to help you, the letter must contain the following information:
- Date of your service at Lakeland Health
- The purpose of your request: legal, medical follow-up, insurance, or personal
- The name/address of the person who is to receive the records
- Your signature and date the letter was written
Submit the written request to Lakeland Health at the following address:
Health Information Management Department
1234 Napier Avenue
St. Joseph, MI 49085
Fax the form or letter to 269-982-4305
Most requests require 48 hours to process. There may also be a fee charged for providing this information depending on the nature of the request. For more information, please call 269-983-8625 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can only request your own medical records, unless you are requesting a copy of a minor child/children (under 18 years of age). In the event that a patient is deceased, the personal representative appointed by the court can request copies of records. The personal representative must mail in a copy of the court paperwork in addition to the written request.
Each subsequent request of medical records requires an additional written request, form or authorization.