How to write a letter to get medical records

Updated February 23, 2018

According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you have the right to see or obtain copies of your own medical records from your physicians. While the medical office does not have to provide you with the original documents, they are required by law to make a copy of all requested documents to you. Some doctors' offices require that you write a letter to request your medical records.

Write a succinct and professional letter so that there is no misunderstanding of what you are asking for. Be clear about exactly which records you are requesting.

Write your address at the top of the page, left justified. Write your street name and number on the first line and your city, state and zip code on the second line. The date should immediately follow your address, on the third line.

Skip one line and then write the name of your physician. The next two lines should be the physician's address.

Skip another line and write a regarding line, which tells the receiver what the letter is about. Also include any identifiable numbers, such as your patient identification number, if you have one.

Write the content of the letter, clearly asking for a copy of your medical records. You do not need to indicate why you want or need them, simply that you do. Clearly state that you expect the records to be mailed to you in a reasonable amount of time, such as a month. Or state a day and time when you plan to stop by the medical office to pick the records up in person.

State in your letter that you understand that you may be charged a reasonable copying fee for the records, and possibly for postage, but that there should be no other fees attached to obtaining your medical records.

State clearly the address you would like the records mailed to.

End the letter with your name and either mail or personally hand it to the medical office.

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About the Author

Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.