Where To Get Medical Record Copies

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March 24, 2017


Most of us may never need a copy of our medical records and rarely think about them. There are times that copies of your medical record may be needed for further care, supplemental insurance claims or other reasons. 

But where do you go? What do you need to know? 

At Penn Highlands Healthcare, each hospital has a Health Information Management Department, or HIM, that is ready to help you as there are some rules that are set by the government that dictate what you will need to get the copies you need. 

Generally an authorization form is required to request your records. You can download the form from our website at www.phhealthcare.org or get the form when you visit the HIM office in person. 

The HIM offices are located at: 

Penn Highlands Brookville 
“We are located right inside the main entrance of the hospital,” according to Heather Mills, manager of HIM at PH Brookville. “Our hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and closed holidays. Other arrangements are made with the patient/patient representative on an as needed basis for times outside of our normal hours.” 

Penn Highlands Clearfield 
HIM is located on first floor past the information desk, said Bridgett H. Sidorick, RHIA HIM/Compliance/Privacy director at PH Clearfield. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. excluding holidays. 

Penn Highlands DuBois 
A new, easily accessible location has been created at PH DuBois in the Business Office, Donna Miller, HIM manager at PH DuBois, said. This location just opened Wednesday, March 15. 

At street-level with its own parking area, it is located at the west campus in the Central Resource Center at the Monroe Street entrance of the building. (There is no access from the other entrances to this area.) 

Its hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. 

Penn Highlands Elk 
HIM can be located by coming in the main entrance and following the brown tiles to the main elevators by the cafeteria. The elevator can be taken to the first floor where are signs will direct you to the HIM Department. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. excluding holidays, said Kathleen Vargas, director of HIM at PH Elk. 

How do you do it? 

If the records are being forwarded to another healthcare provider, the name, address, phone or fax number of the provider is needed. 

“According to the privacy laws, a request must be for specific records. It can’t just be an ‘all records’ request,” said Mills. This means that you should know the dates or a time frame of when the services were given or the specific procedure that you are interested in. 

Also, there may be a fee for the copies depending upon what they are for. Ask first so there are no surprises for you. 

When the records are copied and ready, they can be picked up in the same location that you dropped off your form. 

How long will it take? “It depends on our current workload, but there is a 30-day allowance for regular requests, less for subpoenas and legal issues,” Sidorick said. Most are done sooner than that. 

Upon pick up, you will need to show a photo ID. 

What if you can’t pick the records up? Another person can, but he or she will need to be listed on the request form before you hand it in. They, too, will need to present a photo ID upon pick up. 

What if you’re too sick or disabled to stop in? “Authorization forms are available via internet or they can be mailed or faxed to you if you call. Someone can also pick up the initial authorization for you to fill out,” Miller said. 

What if the patient has passed away? “Upon the death of a patient, the hospital shall provide, upon request, to the executor of the decedent’s estate or, in the absence of an executor, the next of kin responsible for the disposition of the remains, access to all medical records of the deceased patient,” Vargas said. 

Of course, there a few other things to remember with regard to the patient’s age or the types of records; for example, whether the patient is a minor or specialty records such as HIV. 

Also note, HIM offices can provide reports of x-rays, MRIs, CT scans and other imaging, however, the images are generally obtained from the Radiology Departments. 

If you need help, call the HIM offices at 814-849-1430 at Penn Highlands Brookville, 814-768-2370 at Penn Highlands Clearfield, 814-375-3485 at Penn Highlands DuBois or 814-788-8671 at Penn Highlands Elk with any questions.