View Full Version : Obtaining a prisoner's medical records
01-16-2003, 06:32 PM
Have any of you had any experience obtaining medical records for a prisoner? I have been hitting a brick wall with this. I have the power of attorney paperwork and have sent copies with every request - to the DOC, the private agency in charge of health care, even the governor. I've gotten no reply at all - not even a "No."
Please Help! :(
01-16-2003, 07:04 PM
MY SON IS IN A TEXAS PRISON, HE WANTED ME TO DO SOMETHING FOR HIM ABOUT HIS MEDICAL STATUS, SO I CALLED DOWN TO THE TDC UNIT AND ASKED FOR HIS RECORDS, THEY TOLD ME MY SON WOULD HAVE TO COME DOWN AND AND SIGN A RELEASE FORM GIVING THEM PERMISSION TO GIVE ME HIS MEDICAL RECORDS, WHICH HE DID, I DONT KNOW HOW OTHER STATES DO IT, HOPE THIS HELPS YOU. GOOD LUCK. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
Shouldn't the POA be enough to give permission? Maybe send it certified so you know they got it, then follow up with a phone call to the medical unit. I would like to know this too. Do they give you all of his records?
Let me know what happens.
01-17-2003, 01:16 AM
I would be very interested to find out how this turns out. Good Luck Danielle. :)
01-17-2003, 11:55 AM
IM CURIOUS TOO.LET ME KNOW
01-17-2003, 12:24 PM
I AM TRYING TO GET RON'S MED RECORDS NOW- I WILL LET YOU NOW WHAT I FIND OUT
01-17-2003, 12:25 PM
THANKS.I NEED TERRANCES FOR SOMETHING WITH HIS BACK AND I WANNA KNOW WHAT I NEED TO DO THANKS
01-24-2003, 06:54 PM
Let me know what you gals find out. We're having some medical problems, too.
I hear that Prisoner Legal Services (for N.C. inmates only) will get involved if you believe the care is not adequate. Will see what I can find out.
I am not sure if a PA is enough to obtain medical records. My father was already deceased and to join a class action suit for Hep C here in Canada his doctor would fill the forms and send the documentation directly but would not release anything to us. Maybe the laws are different in Canada but it would make sense to me that Wayne would have to sign a release at the prison. It would also not surprise me that they would not respond and tell you this... You are just supposed to figure this out on your own I think. The prison system does not have a reputation of 'assisting' us but rather hampering our attempts. Honestly I don't know how some of them sleep at night... Especially with issues like this.
01-24-2003, 07:44 PM
I sent letters to NaphCare, the private company in charge of healthcare and to the DOC. The DOC responded with an email saying I had to go through NaphCare. Then, yesterday I got a letter from NaphCare saying I had to go through the DOC. If it wasn't so sad and damn frustrating, it would be funny.
The thing about my husband signing a release - well, the medical facility is not at his camp. In order to see a doctor or nurse (except when the nurse pops by once a day for pill call and unless you're getting medication, you're not allowed to speak to her) he has to sign up for an appointment to be taken to another facility. And that can take up to two weeks or longer. He's asked about it at the camp and they don't seem to know what he's talking about. My head hurts from this mess.
Could a lawyer subpeona (sp?) the medical records?
If you have not done so already, have your incarcerated loved one ask for and sign a Release of Information form. If possible, he/she should make a copy of the signed form but send the original to you. Typically medical records are kept by the medical provider--so if it is a private vendor [such as CMS or PHS] the request needs to go directly to them. Also, most DOCs or vendors will require you to pay for each page of the record [I've heard of people having to pay up to .15/page]. If you think the record will be very large you may just want to request specfic information [i.e., lab reports, MD progress notes, etc...]. When you submit your request in writing make sure to [if possible] get the name of the administrative person incharge of health services of the prison and address the letter to him/her. Also inquire about the cost for copying and most important give a future date you wish to hear from them; two weeks is a reasonable amount of time for them to turn-around a response back to you. If you are power of attorney send that paperwork along with a copy of the signed Release and your letter. Send the whole package certified! In some states it's almost easier for the prisoner to request and obtain his/her record--they need to have the $$ in their account to pay for the copying. In other words, your loved one who is in prison may have do some leg work to find out exactly how it is "supposed" to work--knowing this information may save everyone lots of time and headaches.
Oh, one more thing--send copies of her letter of request to appropriate prison administrative personnel and/or your loved one's social worker/counselor.
Hope this info. is helpful....
01-25-2003, 05:38 PM
I worked in a medical records department. Everything depends on what the POA addresses. As others said, it would be better if you get a release of information. He doesn't need to see a nurse for the release. He can make one up...giving his permission for you to have access to his records OR you can look on some website and print one up..send them for him to fill in. He needs to address a separate release for each agency you are involved with. SEnd the original release, a copy of the POA and a cover letter to each place. Send copies of the run around responses/letters you are getting.
Unless you specify that you need it for an urgent medical need, general requests get put on the bottom of the pile so don't expect them right away!!!
01-26-2003, 06:54 PM
Yes, a lawyer can subpoena the records! We have already done that with old records we needed for my husband's appeal. The reason we aren't going through our attorney this time is that we don't want to pay him for something we may be able to do ourselves. I thought about getting a release form from my husband and having my doctor request the records, since a second opinion is the main thing we're after right now.
01-26-2003, 07:00 PM
The lawyer will need your husband's permission before he can share the records with you ... but you probably already knew that! :)
About making up one's own Release--I'm not sure that will work in prison systems or with private health care vendors. I know in NJ if you do not use the DOC issued Release they won't acknowledge your request. As far as I know, this goes for lawyers who request records in NJ, too!!!
Also, one good thing in NJ is a new Open Records Act which allows open access to all government records. That means a family member of a prisoner [or the prisoner him/herself] can request any and all records [one's jacket or prison file]!!! There is a charge for copying but the agency one contacts to request the record tells you the cost [via phone or internet]. It's a very accessible service! Others may want to check and see if their state has a similar law. I would think that a Release is still needed for a medical record due to general medical confidentiality laws, but this new Act should make it a whole lot easier!!!
01-26-2003, 07:47 PM
Finally! The lady over the Jeff Dicks' Chapter in Alabama found out the procedure. There's a specific request form that must be filled out by an attending physician.
I NEED HELP THOUGH! The form is in excel and I don't have that program. Does anybody have it - that I could forward the email you and have you cut and paste it into MS Word???
01-27-2003, 07:14 AM
Danielle, I know that your husband will have to sign his own release, Medical information is highly confidential and I do not believe that anyone is going to release them with a POA. Our other members seem to agree. I would like to know if you have had any success in this venture, Thank you, Laurene
01-27-2003, 07:46 AM
I was told (in NC anyway) that even if he signs a release, that because he is in the custody of the state, they do not have to release thei nformation-got that from the health division of NC DOC. Anyway to dispute that?