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Requesting Changes to Your Medical Records

Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009 by Christopher L. Thayer

alt textPatients in Washington State have the right to review their own medical records and to request amendments or corrections to their records if they believe certain entries are inaccurate. See, RCW 70.02.100 and RCW 70.02.110

Request correction or amendment in writing

The statute allows for a patient to request changes “for purposes of accuracy or completeness” and requires that the request be made in writing to the health care provider. PRACTICAL TIP: Provide a written request along with the change and/or amendment and the reasons for your request. Although not required by statute, I recommend sending this request by certified mail, return receipt requested. Save a copy of your letter for your file.

Health care provider must respond within 10 days of receipt of request.

Absent “unusual circumstances” the health care provider must make the requested change (or inform the patient in writing that the requested changes are not being made) within 10 days of receipt of the request. RCW 70.02.100

Option 1: Changes accepted

If the health care provider accepts the requested changes, they must: (1) include the amendment/addition as part of your chart; (2) mark the challenged entries as corrected or amended; and (3) indicate where in the chart the corrected or amended record can be found. RCW 70.02.110(1)

Option 2: Changes not accepted

If the health care provider refuses to accept the requested changes, the patient is allowed to submit a concise statement regarding the correction and why it was requested. This statement is to be maintained as part of the patient’s medical record. The health care provider must also mark the challenged entry, indicating that the patient claims the entry is inaccurate or incomplete.

For more information, please contact Christopher Thayer at 206-805-1494.

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