Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Always get your medical records


No matter how many hassles you get into, you need one more: If you are hospitalized or get tests, get those records.

First, never ever assume that if you don’t hear back on a medical test, no news is good news. There are seven ways results can go astray. If you don’t hear back in 2 weeks, call.

Second, if you are in the hosp or go to the ER, get the record. Yes, it’s a soul-sapping hell of bureaucracy—but remember, this is the info on you the govt wants to have. Don’t you want it to at least be accurate?

Ah, but it’s not that easy.

First, you must call the hospital, ask for "patient records," then they will mail you a form and you fax or mail it back. In days or weeks, the records come.

Then you read through—my mother was in the ER two weeks ago for 3.5 hours and they managed to say she has Alzheimer’s (nope), Type II diabetes (nope), and was unconscious from the fall that brought here there (also nope).

Under HIPAA, they say you can “correct” the record. But au contraire—you cannot get the info out, just file your own competing statement which supposedly comes up the first thing on the screen if someone accesses the record.

Will a doctor believe you, the dopey layperson, or the doctor who supposedly wrote the other items? Who knows.

I am just saying—these records make interesting reading. See what you are getting tagged with.

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