A common question that we are asked is, “Can I have access to my elderly mother’s medical records?” The short answer is yes if you hold the Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA).
Cal Health & Safety Code § 123110(b) states:
Additionally, any patient or patient’s representative shall be entitled to copies of all or any portion of the patient records that he or she has a right to inspect, upon presenting a written request to the health care provider specifying the records to be copied, together with a fee to defray the cost of copying, that shall not exceed twenty-five cents ($0.25) per page or fifty cents ($0.50) per page for records that are copied from microfilm and any additional reasonable clerical costs incurred in making the records available. The health care provider shall ensure that the copies are transmitted within 15 days after receiving the written request.
Patient and/or personal representatives are entitled to copies of all patient records upon written request under California and HIPAA regulations. (45 CFR 164.508; Cal Health & Safety Code § 123110 (b).) There are numerous possibilities that would allow a family member (of an elder, dependent adult or minor) to gain access to medical records.
Cal Health & Safety Code section 123105 defines “Patient’s representative” or “representative as the following:
- A parent or guardian of a minor who is a patient.
- The guardian or conservator of the person of an adult patient.
- An agent as defined in Section 4607 of the Probate Code, to the extent necessary for the agent to fulfill his or her duties as set forth in Division 4.7 (commencing with Section 4600) of the Probate Code.
- The beneficiary as defined in Section 24 of the Probate Code or personal representative as defined in Section 58 of the Probate Code, of a deceased patient.
California Probate Code section 58 defines Personal Representative as: executor, administrator, administrator with the will annexed, special administrator, successor personal representative, public administrator acting pursuant to Section 7660, or a person who performs substantially the same function under the law of another jurisdiction governing the person’s status.
California Probate Code section 24 defines “Beneficiary” as:
- As it relates to the intestate estate of a decedent, means an heir.
- As it relates to the testate estate of a decedent, means a devisee.
- As it relates to a trust, means a person who has any present or future interest, vested or contingent.
- As it relates to a charitable trust, includes any person entitled to enforce the trust.
In sum, the patient, the patient’s family member who has a Durable Power of Attorney for health care decisions, the patient’s heir, guardian or conservator are entitled to the patient’s medical records.
York Law Firm is comprised of Sacramento based lawyers that handle elder abuse and wrongful death cases. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or believe your family has a wrongful death claim, please call our office so that we can investigate your case at 916-643-2200 or contact us online. We are dedicated to representing families whose elders and dependent adults who have been injured, neglected or abused.
Click here for a sample form letter to request medical records.