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How to get a deceased person's medical records

Updated February 21, 2017

Medical records of a deceased relative can be obtained as long as certain procedures are taken. Relatives seek medical records of their deceased loved ones for different reasons, including wanting to know what kind of medications they were on or helping their own doctors determine a diagnosis for a disease they have that is similar to what the deceased had. When obtaining medical records of a deceased relative, follow certain directives to make the procedure easier for you and for the agency holding the medical records.

Obtain the hospital, doctor or agency’s address and phone number that is holding the deceased relative’s medical records. The establishment will give you a form that needs to be filled out in order to proceed.

Fill out all forms provided to you by the hospital, doctor or agency. The forms are supplied by HIPAA, which is the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act. The forms will need to be filled out completely.

Make a copy of the HIPAA form you have filled out before taking it back to the establishment you received it from. This way you have a record of the paperwork.

Obtain a death certificate of the deceased and take it with you along with the HIPAA form to the agency holding the medical records.

Ask if the agency needs a birth certificate of the deceased family member. For some agencies, a death certificate may be sufficient.

Ask who is on the medical records next of kin. If you are not listed as next of kin and are not a spouse or child of the deceased, you will need to supply court documents entitling you to gain access to the medical records.

Pay the fee if you ask for the medical records to be sent to you. Medical records sent to a health professional should not carry any cost.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone number and address of agency holding medical records
  • HIPAA form
  • Copy of completed HIPAA form
  • Death certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Court documents
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Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.