How To Request Medical Records From a Hospital or Doctor Without Killing Yourself

Do I Have to Get My Medical Records for My Lawyer?

No! Getting a copy of your hospital records and medical records is costly and frustratingly time-consuming. Your personal injury lawyer should get your medical records so you don’t have to advance the money or waste your time and get frustrated. If your personal injury lawyer wants you to get your own medical records, call another personal injury lawyer.

Instead of reading about how to request medical records, just call the personal injury lawyers in New York at HURT-911®. If you had an accident in New York, you do not need to request your medical records from hospitals or doctors!

We will get a copy of your hospital and medical records for you, just call us for a free consultation (7 days/nights) at 1-800-HURT-911 | 1-800-487-8911.

Two Ways To Get Hospital and Medical Records

There are two ways that you can request a copy of your hospital and medical records:

  1. Pursuant to state law. §18 of the Public Health Law of the State of New York entitles a patient, patient’s lawyer, or representative to obtain a copy of the patient’s medical records. This method is easier but more expensive and takes longer.
  2. Pursuant to federal law. The HITECH Act, 42 U.S.C.A. §17935(e)(1) entitles a patient, patient’s lawyer, or representative to obtain a copy of the patient’s medical records. This method is slightly more complicated but much less expensive and quicker than a medical request pursuant to state law but it only applies to records kept in digital form, not paper.

How Long Does It Take To Get Medical or Hospital Records?

It can take weeks to months to get medical records when requested pursuant to §18 of the Public Health Law of the State of New York.

Hospitals and doctors have a lot of work to do and it’s even worse in the New York area. Doctors are a priority and can get hospital and medical records within hours but sending copies of medical or hospital records to patients or lawyers is not a priority.

Using a federal law, the HITECH Act, 42 U.S.C.A. §17935(e)(1), we can get your hospital records and medical records, usually for only $6.75, no matter how many pages are in your medical record, within 30 days of our request for hospital or medical records.

How Long Does It Take To Get Hospital Records?

When requesting hospital records pursuant to New York State law a hospital will usually send records to you within 2-3 months after you mail an acceptable request in writing with a HIPAA form.

When requesting hospitals pursuant to the HITECH Act, the hospital must send the records to you within 30 days of a proper request.

Tip: Do not request hospital records until after patient discharge. If the patient is admitted to a hospital overnight, the hospital records should be requested after the patient is discharged otherwise you may only get partial records or the hospital might reject your request for records and you will have to make another request after discharge from the hospital.

How Long Does It Take To Get Medical Records From a Doctor?

Doctors will usually send their medical records to you within 2-3 months after you provide a HIPAA form but some doctors can take months and even require threatening letters.

We use a medical record retrieval service that will request the medical records and will call and fax continuously when a doctor doesn’t comply. It usually takes a few weeks.

If the doctor’s office keeps medical records in electronic/digital format, the medical records can be requested pursuant to the HITECH Act.

How Much Do Medical or Hospital Records Cost in New York?

New York State law allows hospitals and doctors to charge a maximum of $0.75 per page for a copy of your hospital records. You will also be charged postage (usually certified mail) if the records are mailed.

After you submit a request with a HIPAA form, you will be sent an invoice for a copy of the records.

Hospital records can be very expensive because they generate many more pages than a doctor’s office. If you were in the hospital for a few days or weeks, it can cost hundreds of dollars to as much as $1,700 or more at $0.75/page under New York  State law to get a copy of your hospital records.

Hospital records for a wrongful death case, are usually not expensive since most deaths from accidents occur in the ER.

Copies of radiology images usually cost $15-$35 per image. However, copies of radiology images are included when requested under the HITECH Act.

3-D color x-ray of Ulnar & radial fractures

If you were in the hospital with a broken bone requiring surgery due to an accident, you could be in the hospital for as long as 2-12 weeks which could generate 1,000-2,000 pages. Before we used the HITECH Act, we received bills for hospital records for as much as $600-$1,800.

We now request a copy of hospital records pursuant to the HITECH Act which requires the hospital to send the records within 30 days instead of months and for a total cost of only $6.75 to $25.

The HITECH Act can save hundreds to thousands of dollars (most personal injury lawyers do not know how to use the HITECH Act to get a copy of your hospital records).

If you had an accident, we will be happy to get a copy of your hospital records for you, just call us (7 days/nights)

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How To Request Hospital and Doctor Records

Hospital records must be requested in writing and sent by mail with a properly filled out and signed HIPAA form.

If you want to get your hospital record yourself you can find here a list of hospital addresses and phone numbers in New York.

Medical records from a doctor’s office can be requested by mail or fax but your doctor may let you request your medical records orally after you sign a HIPAA form in your doctor’s office. Ask your doctor if he or she can provide you with a copy for free.

Personal injury lawyers can’t do anything with your accident case until all of your medical records have been received. Not only are the medical records needed to be sent to the insurance company to evaluate your case, but your lawyer needs all of your medical records to be able to complete much of the most important legal work during your lawsuit.

How We Request Doctor Records

To speed up the process of receiving your medical records from doctors, we use an outside company to get your medical records. We simply upload medical record requests online. After that, they constantly harass doctors, by phone and fax, to get your medical records and email us a link to download your medical records when they become available.

We can log in at any time to check the status of our medical records request. This image shows the status of a medical record request. There are 19 status entries showing what has been going on until we finally received the medical records five weeks later. Altogether to get the medical records they sent 3 mailings; 3 faxes; 4 calls and 4 emails.

This Medical Records Request Status Tracking shows how to request medical records from hospital or doctors without frustration

This is just one of the new technological advances we take advantage of to increase the value of your case and move your case faster.

Sample Letter To Request Medical Records Pursuant to New York State Law

(A completed HIPAA form must be sent with this letter.)

Your address

Name of hospital or doctor

RE: [Your hospital or medical record identification number]

To whom it may concern:

I was your patient between [fill in dates]. Please provide a complete copy of all of my medical records, reports, reports written by other medical providers, photographs, and itemized bills.

Please let me know if I can download a digital copy or, if not, mail the requested records to me at the above address.

(Copies of images are expensive-If you want to pay for images, use this paragraph) I am requesting reports of imaging but I am NOT requesting copies of x-rays, CAT, MRI, or ultrasound imaging at this time. If you have any digital images, please advise me of the cost to obtain digital images.

Section 18 of the Public Health Law of the State of New York provides that copies of all medical records are to be provided to me at no more than $0.75 per page.  Fees for search and/or retrieval, copies produced from microfiche or optical disk, are prohibited.  Please advise me of the number of pages and the cost of obtaining the requested medical records.

Enclosed is a signed authorization permitting me to obtain a copy of my medical records.


Your signature
Your name printed

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How To Fill Out A HIPAA Form

You can find here a fillable New York State HIPAA form.

Use a HIPAA form only to get your medical records for yourself or another doctor when you do not need a personal injury lawyer. Do not give this form to any insurance company without first speaking to your personal injury lawyer. Find out why you should not try to settle your accident case without a lawyer.

Instructions for the Authorization for Release of Health Information Pursuant To HIPAA form:

  • Fill out the Patient Name, DOB, SS#, and Patient Address at the top.
  • Box 7: Enter the name and address of the hospital or doctor.
  • Box 9(a): Enter either the date you want the medical record from and the date to, or check the box that says Entire Medical Record (you will receive records from all visits possibly for many years).
  • Box 9(a): (Because this information could be in your record, hospitals will require it to be initialed) sign your initials in all 3 places on the right side of 9 (a) where you see:

___Alcohol/Drug Treatment

___Mental Health Information

___HIV Related Information.

  • Box 9(b): Do not sign your initials at 9 (b) unless the form is for your lawyer.
  • Box 10: Check “At request of individual”.
  • Box 11: Enter the date you want the HIPAA form to expire.
  • Box 12: Leave blank
  • Box 13: Leave blank
  • Sign at the bottom left where it says “Signature of patient or representative authorized by law” (does not get notarized)

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Sample HITECH Letter To Request Medical Records

(Send this letter together with the HITECH Patient-Directed Request letter and a completed HIPAA form.)

Your address

Name of hospital or doctor

RE: [Your hospital or medical record identification number]

To whom it may concern:

Please be advised that I am/was a patient of yours and I am requesting a copy of all of my medical records.

Enclosed is the following:

  1. My Patient-Directed Request requesting that you send me my medical records in electronic format at the HITECH rate.
  2. Duly executed HIPAA authorization permitting the acquisition of a copy of your medical records listed on the following page.

Pursuant to federal law, the HITECH Act, 42 U.S.C.A. §17935(e)(1), and its implementing regulations, 45 CFR 164.524(c)(2)(i), I am requesting, in an electronic format only, a complete copy of my medical records, radiology images, hospital bills, and physician bills. You may deliver the records to me online or if you are unable to on CD within 30 days of this request pursuant to 45 CFR 164.524(b)(2) There are severe penalties for non-compliance, even if you have not yet been paid for the records.

I am not requesting paper copies. Do not bill me for paper copies. The HITECH Act and its regulations preempt state law and do not allow you to bill for paper copies when an electronic copy has been requested.

If you violate the law by charging the paper copy rate for electronic records I will file a complaint with the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) at The Office of Civil Rights of HHS can investigate complaints and levy fines for violations of the Act. Failure to comply with the HITECH provisions will likely result in significant sanctions, including: civil penalties (42 U.S.C. § 17939(c) – (d)), criminal prosecution and audits (42 U.S.C. § 17940) with mandatory fines up to $250,000 and up to $1.5 million for repeat or uncorrected violations.

If any of the records are only available as paper copies and have never been made into an electronic format, please identify the record and provide the cost of copying at the rate allowed by §18 of the Public Health Law of the State of New York.

If you have any questions, you may call the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights toll-free at: 1-800-368-1019.

The records requested should include all records including the following, if applicable:

  • ***Itemized hospital and physician billing for all treatment***;
  • Radiology images;
  • Ambulance records;
  • Emergency room records;
  • Hospital admission face sheet;
  • Diagnostic & Radiology tests and reports;
  • Discharge summary;
  • Admission history and physical;
  • Progress notes; Orders; & Consultations;
  • Lab values; Pathology reports;
  • Graphic vital signs;
  • Anesthesia record;
  • Operative reports and notes;
  • Recovery room;
  • Nurses notes;
  • Medication records; and
  • Outpatient records.

Your signature
Your name printed

HITECH Patient-Directed Request Letter

Your Name


Hospital Name

Dear Records Custodian:

I was a patient of your hospital. My date of birth is ____________. I request that you send copies of all of my medical records in electronic form only at the HITECH rate to me at the above address.

Such records include, but are not limited to, admission records, history, and physical notes, operative notes, discharge summaries, nurses’ notes, radiological images, billing records, and outside records.

Please note that HIPAA [45 CFR 164.524(b) (2)] requires you to provide the requested records within 30 days of receiving this request. There are severe penalties for non-compliance, even if you have not yet been paid for the records.

Your signature
Your name printed

Attorney Franckel is a well-known personal injury lawyer, Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York, and a former Member Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has an Avvo Top 10  Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor Award, Multi-Million Dollar Trial Lawyers Award, and other awards. See Mr. Franckel’s bio for areas of expertise.

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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

1-800-HURT-911® Founding Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer Rob Plevy, Esq.

Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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