Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Patients May Have a Right to See Their Own Medical Records

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Patients May Have a Right to See Their Own Medical Records

Article excerpt

Q: Do I have a right to get a copy of my medical records from my doctor?

A: Under most circumstances, the answer is yes. State law requires all physicians, dentists, chiropractors and other "duly licensed prctitioners" to give you a copy of their records of your health history and treatment. You have to make the request in writing.

The records must be furnished within a reasonable time. The health provider can require you to pay a reasonable fee, one not greater than the actual costs of time and materials used to put the record together.

This right does have an important limit. Your access to your records is supposed to be limited to that which is consistent with your condition and sound therapeutic treatment, as determined by the health provider.

This appears to mean that if your doctor thought it would be harmful to you to see a copy of your records, the doctor could decide not to show them to you, and that decision would be protected by state law.

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Q: You said in a recent column that a person could dispute information in his or her credit history by writing to the credit reporting agency. What should that letter say?

A: The law doesn't require that you dispute the item in writing, but I suggest doing it so that you have a record. Your letter should:

Give your complete name and address.

State clearly which item in your credit report you are disputing.

Explain why you are disputing the item.

Give the facts.

Ask that the item be deleted or corrected, as the case may be.

If you have a copy of your credit report, it would help to send a photocopy with the items marked.

Finally, send the letter certified, return receipt requested. Also, keep a copy of everything you send. Never send originals in the mail; always send copies. Make sure the copies can be easily read.

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Q: A few years ago, I was attending a vocational school when it closed. I was getting student loans to pay the tuition. …

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