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How to Move Your Medical Records during your Residential Move

It’s just one more thing and easily overlooked.

But it’s vital.

Among the hundreds of details you have to attend to when you’re moving house, your family’s medical records have a definite priority.

What if your child or spouse unexpectedly needs treatment, and your records are at your former doctor’s office – and you’ve already moved to your new city?

Besides, your new doctors, dentists, pediatricians, gynecologists, ophthalmologists and the like will want to see the road your family’s health has traveled, before they chart the next steps for your wellness.

Time was, you could not get to see your medical records. Doctors had the right to keep them from you, and some of them did. Now, though, HIPAA* regulations give you the right to review and copy your personal medical files. (If you have time, this official HIPAA website is a treasure trove of useful information.)

While HIPAA doesn’t require a written request, many doctors still do; so here’s a form specifically for medical transfers. You might also get one from your current or former doctor. Since HIPAA allows a “reasonable, cost-based fee,” you should expect to pay a small amount for copies of your records, but not for any time spent searching for them.

Move Your Medical Records Early.

If you can, get hard copies of your medical records to take with you. They’ll be handy in case of an emergency. Keep them with your important papers and valuables.

Or, have your former doctor’s staff pass them along to your new doctors. Be aware, though, that shipping medical records is never the highest priority in a doctor’s office, so it could possibly take up to a month or two for your new doctors to receive them. This is an excellent reason for you to request your records early – two or three months before your actual move.

Keep in mind that – unless you have your own copies to pass along – your medical records can’t be sent until you’ve chosen new doctors at your new home, and your former doctor knows where to send them.

* Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

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