The 21st Century Cures Act – Retrieval of Patient’s Medical Records at No Cost
The Cures Act, also known as the 21st Century Cures Act, is a federal law enacted in 2016 that aims to improve healthcare in the United States. Under the Cures Act, patients have the right to access and obtain copies of their medical records, including electronic health records (EHRs), free of charge.
Process for Obtaining Free Medical Records:
- Requesting Medical Records: In California, to obtain medical records for civil litigation, the first step is to make a written request to the healthcare provider or entity that has the records. The request should include the patient’s full name, date of birth, and the specific medical records being requested.
- Cures Act Compliance: The request should specify that it is being made under the Cures Act and that the records are required for civil litigation purposes. The healthcare provider or entity is required to comply with the Cures Act and provide the records free of charge within 30 days of receiving the request.
- Verification of Identity: The healthcare provider or entity may require verification of the patient’s identity before releasing the records. This may involve providing identification documents or signing a release form.
- Format of Records: The Cures Act allows patients to request their medical records in the format of their choice, including electronic or paper format. However, if the records are requested in a specific format, the healthcare provider or entity may charge for the cost of providing the records in that format.
- Follow-up and Timeline: If the healthcare provider or entity does not comply with the Cures Act and does not provide the records within 30 days, the patient may follow up with a written request or contact the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for assistance. It’s important to keep track of the timeline and deadlines for obtaining the records.
Obtaining free medical records for civil litigation in California, pursuant to the Cures Act, requires making a written request to the healthcare provider or entity, specifying that it is being made under the Cures Act, and providing the necessary patient information. The healthcare provider or entity is required to comply with the Cures Act and provide the records within 30 days of receiving the request. If there are any issues or delays, the patient may follow up with the healthcare provider or entity, or contact the OCR for assistance.