5 Steps to Relocating your Medical Records When Moving
If you have a long distance move in your future, one thing people often overlook is the moving of your medical records to the medical providers you choose in your new city. If you aren’t doing a long distance move, it’s not as big of a deal because you may not being changing healthcare providers and while possibly inconvenient, you can always go to your current provider in person if necessary. But if you are doing an interstate move or even moving a far distance inside the same state we recommend thinking through your medical records before you move.
Understanding the best way to transfer your medical records to a new doctor after your move can be confusing and a bit of a hassle. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you have the right to take your medical records with you after switching healthcare providers or moving to a new city. We have broken it down to 5 easy steps to help you manage your medical records as you prepare to move.
- First, it is important to know who and where your records are going to. Once you have determined your new healthcare providers, get all necessary contact information for your new providers. Make sure you look at good medical provider online review sites and ask good questions to determine if you are working with a professional and reputable practice. This will give you the confidence to know that your records are in good hands and that you know how they are being managed to maintain your privacy. Check out the following website to learn more about the best review sites for evaluating healthcare providers: http://www.grouponehealthsource.com/blog/10-most-popular-physician-rating-and-review-sites
- Determine if you need to transfer all of your records or just specific aspects of your records that are relevant to your current situation. Keep in mind that you have full control over which records are transferred, so make sure to make a note of your more important records. It is also not a bad idea to ask your new doctor what records they require or would be helpful so you don’t have anything missing.
- Talk to your practitioner to find out how your records are currently being stored. Some healthcare practices may only have paper records while others may solely use electronic documents. Practitioners are not allowed to charge you for transferring records directly to a new provider, however, they may charge a fee for copying and mailing records to you directly. Keep in mind that it may take some time for providers to get your records around in the format you are requesting so plan accordingly. If you know your move date, make sure to plan ahead and give you medical provider ample time to meet your request.
- After you have made your initial request for your medical records, check in with your practitioner periodically and be persistent. HIPAA obligates a 30 day span for a provider to transfer your records after your first request. With this in mind, check in with your provider and confirm with them that your records will be transferred or ready for you on time. If you don’t give them enough time, you may incur additional charges and hassle for them to ship you the records when you could have had them ready for your interstate move.
- If you have paper copies of your records for your move it is wise to keep them in a waterproof container or envelope. There are many options from plastic envelopes to pouches to watertight file containers that you can buy inexpensively at online retailers like Amazon at others. With electronic files, it is important that you keep your records secure and backed up in case of a computer failure. Using popular online cloud based storage sites like DropBox or Google Drive are secure and backed up automatically in the cloud. It is recommended that you keep your records with you on your move instead of putting them in a box on a truck to ensure your records don’t get lost or misplaced in the moving process.
If you are planning an interstate move across a long distance, you will not regret putting in the time to get your medical records taken care of before you move. While you can still get things done through calling and emailing, when dealing with the stringent regulations and privacy concerns inherent to medical records it is always good to have the option to go to your healthcare provider’s office in person to get things sorted out before you move away and don’t have the option.