Q. Not too long ago, my doctor suggested I have a complete physical. I have asked my physician for a copy of the results of all the tests I underwent, but he has not, or will not, furnish me with one.
I would like to get a copy of these results for my own medical files. Am I entitled to a report of the findings of my complete physical?
My insurance has already paid for all the tests I took.
A. You most certainly are entitled to a copy of your medical record. Although your physician has a right to the actual chart or medical record, you are medically and legally entitled to the information in it. For most purposes, that means either a written summary or a photocopy of the chart.
I'm surprised that your doctor seems reluctant to share this information with you.
After all, it's your health that's in question, not to mention the fact that you paid for the tests, through your insurance company.
If you haven't already, you might talk with your doctor directly. Let him know you want a copy of your test results. If you don't get one, you could contact the local medical society or state licensing board to complain.
I'm sure a lawyer could get a copy for you, but you'd have to judge whether that would be worth the expense.
What concerns me is that it sounds like you don't have a trusting relationship with your physician. That's not a good basis to start from, especially if some serious health problem should strike in the future.
You'll have to ask yourself whether your doctor is right for you.
As for having a copy of important medical information, I think it's a good idea. Not only can it help patients play a more active role in their health care, it can also come in handy if they move, see another physician or want to learn more about their own condition.
Many doctors charge for copying a chart, with rates around $1 per page.
However, most will send a copy of your chart to another physician at no charge, after you sign a written request.
Jay Siwek, a family physician from Georgetown University, practices at the Fort Lincoln Family Medicine Center and Providence Hospital in Northeast Washington.
Consultation is a health education column and is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician.
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