I’ve seen some people run into big problems when they think they have all their medical records…. but they don’t!
You know that piece of paper they hand you when you walk out of your doctor’s office?
Those are not your medical records! Those are visit summaries.
Or the document they hand you when you say “Can I have the record from today’s visit?”
Nope, that often is not your complete record.
Or those documents you see in your online doctor’s account?
These may not be your full records either!
The summaries and office visit records often do not include treatment notes. Some online systems now include all the doctor’s treatment notes, and some do not.
In the ideal world, you want to get your complete records with all treatment notes. For physical health you should always be able to request this. For mental health, some doctors will not share treatment notes.
When you request your records, they may charge you a fee, and they may also ask you to sign release forms. Hint: If they are not asking you to sign things and pay for things, that is a sign that you may not be getting your full records.
If a lawyer or Social Security is collecting your records for you, it’s a great idea to double check that they are all there. Sometimes a report can be missing the last few pages, or sometimes your file will have old records, but not the most recent ones.
Jim thought he had collected all his records and read everything and was all ready for his hearing. Then, after the hearing, he got a denial notice and it quoted all these things in his records that he had never seen before!! I would not wish this on anyone. Please get your full records if at all possible.
Cherry Blossom thought she had read all her records. Then she learned she hadn’t! Read Cherry Blossom’s story.
Great job getting all your records. Please come take a look at these other Golden Rules of Records