Can I demand medical records from my doctor?

hospital recordsIn the course of my personal injury and workers compensation practice, clients often disclose to me prior to retaining our firm that their physicians refuse to provide medical records or delay production.  In Tennessee, patients have a variety of rights in their medical care. A paramount right is access to your medical records.   Physicians in Tennessee can me sanctioned and fined by the Tennessee department of health for not complying with the law.  Physicians and hospitals in Tennessee are required to maintain medical records for ten years. There is a separate statute for hospitals as to creating, maintaining, and destroying medical records. The following are highlights of key statutes that apply to your rights in requesting medical records.  It is well advised that you submit a letter in writing to your doctor with a copy of these statutes if he fails to produce medical records within ten days and admonish them or the hospital of your right and willingness to file a complaint with proper authorities.

63-2-101.  Release of medical records 

(a)  (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a health care provider shall furnish to a patient or a patient’s authorized representative a copy or summary of such patient’s medical records, at the option of the health care provider, within ten (10) working days upon request in writing by the patient or such representative.

(2) If a provider fails to comply with the provisions of subdivision (a)(1), proper notice shall be given to the provider’s licensing board or boards, and the provider may be subject to disciplinary actions that include sanctions and a monetary fine.

63-2-102.  Costs of reproduction, copying or mailing of records. 

(a) The party requesting the patient’s records is responsible to the provider for the reasonable costs of copying and mailing such patient’s records. For other than records involving workers’ compensation cases, such reasonable costs shall not exceed twenty dollars ($20.00) for medical records five (5) pages or less in length and fifty cents (50cent(s)) per page for each page copied after the first five (5) pages and the actual cost of mailing. Any third-party provider of record copying and related services shall be subject to the reasonable cost limits contained in this section and shall not impose any charge or fee for such services in excess of such cost limits. The costs charged for reproducing records of patients involved in a workers’ compensation claim shall be as defined in § 50-6-204. A health care provider shall not charge a fee for copying or notarizing a medical record when requested by the department pursuant to a complaint, inspection or survey as set forth in § 63-1-117.


68-11-303.  Hospital’s duty to keep records. 

(a) All hospitals, their officers or employees, and medical and nursing personnel practicing in the hospitals, shall with reasonable promptness prepare, make and maintain true and accurate hospital records, including records pertaining to abortions as provided in § 39-15-203, complying with the methods, minimum standards, and contents thereof as may be prescribed by rules and regulations adopted by the board.

(b) The responsibility for supervision, filing and indexing of medical records shall be delegated to a responsible employee of the hospital.

68-11-305.  Preservation of records for specified time 

(a)  (1) Unless specified otherwise by the board, a hospital shall retain and preserve records that relate directly to the care and treatment of a patient for a period of ten (10) years following the discharge of the patient or such patient’s death during such patient’s period of treatment within the hospital.

68-11-304.  Records property of hospitals — Access — Not public records — Funding for medical record requests. 

(a)  (1) Hospital records are and shall remain the property of the various hospitals, subject, however, to court order to produce the records. Unless restricted by state or federal law or regulation, a hospital shall furnish to a patient or a patient’s authorized representative such part or parts of the patient’s hospital records without unreasonable delay upon request in writing by the patient or the representative.

(2)  (A)  (i) The party requesting the patient’s records shall be responsible for the reasonable costs of copying and mailing the patient’s records.

(ii) The charges to a patient or a lawyer authorized by the patient to review the patient’s records shall not exceed the reasonable costs for copying and the actual costs of mailing the records. The reasonable costs shall not include any costs involved with the maintenance and storage of the records, nor shall it include any costs that may be from or associated with providing the records to any party other than a patient or a lawyer authorized by the patient to review the patient’s records.

(iii)  (a) The following charges shall be presumed to be reasonable:

(1) A fee of eighteen dollars ($18.00), which shall include the first five (5) pages of the medical record and a per page charge of eighty-five cents (85cent(s)) a page for the sixth page, up to and including the fiftieth page;

(2) Sixty cents (60cent(s)) a page for the fifty-first page up to the two hundred fiftieth page and thirty-five cents (35cent(s)) a page for all pages thereafter;

(3) A fee for certifying medical records, not to exceed twenty dollars ($20.00) for each record certified.

About Roland

Roland was born in Nashville, Tennessee and raised in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. The first few years he resided in Paris, France with his mother who was French. In Hendersonville, he attended Beech Senior High School where played soccer and studied in the honors curriculum. Subsequently, he pursued two majors in political science and economics while graduating in three years.

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Law Office of Roland Mumford | 639 East Main Street, Hendersonville, TN 37075 |
We handle personal injury, bankruptcy, divorce, immigration, workers compensation, and social security claims from all across Middle Tennessee, including Music City, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Clarksville, Columbia, Spring Hill, Manchester, McMinnville, Hendersonville, Gallatin, Springfield, Dickson, Fairview, Lebanon, Mount Juliet, Columbia, Shelbyville, Cookeville, Lavergne and Antioch, as well as the counties of Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Montgomery, Robertson, Maury, Wilson, Sumner, Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Giles, Smith, Trousdale, and Macon.