Your doctor or hospital is required to keep your medical records in archive for a certain amount of time as required by your state laws. Although many states require only seven to 10 years, your records may be kept up to 30 years after you have severed the doctor-patient relationship. To find your old medical records, you may have to do some digging in places you may not have thought to look.
Call your doctor's office and ask for a copy of your medical records. Some doctor's offices keep your files in archive, failing to throw out old files for years and years. You may be one of the lucky few who will still have access to these records.
Contact your local health department. When doctors retire or hand over their practice, records are not immediately destroyed. Records are transferred to state storage at your local health department. You may be charged a small fee for your records.
Complete a medical records request and submit your complete request to any hospital that may have your records. Include your full name at time of visit, date of your visit and duration of your stay. You also may be asked to provide your Social Security number and other identifying information to ensure you get the proper records.
Search your mother's attic. Although this may be a long shot, some parents keep a child's medical records for years in storage. It serves as a reminder or a "just in case" piece of valuable information. Ask your parents to give you any records from your old doctor's visits or hospital stays.
- Medical Records and the Law; William H. Roach; 2006
- American Health Information Management Association: Practice Brief: Protecting Patient Information after a Facility Closure
Sharin Griffin has been a freelance writer since 2009, specializing in health-related articles. She has worked in the health-care industry as a certified nursing assistant and medical technician. Griffin's medical expertise encompasses bariatrics and geriatric care, with an emphasis on general medicine. She is completing an associate degree in health-care administration from Axia University.