Frequently Asked Questions
Following are frequently asked questions about obtaining medical records from the Medical University of South Carolina.
What is a Valid Authorization?
The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets the standard for a valid authorization to release information. The following elements must be included for a HIPAA-compliant authorization:
- Name and date of birth or social security number
- Statement of who is authorized to release records and who is authorized to receive records
- Purpose of Disclosure
- Type of information to be disclosed
- Psychiatric records or infectious diseases (i.e. HIV, Hepatitis C, TB, etc.) must be clearly marked or checked before they will be released and must be physician approved except for payment, treatment, or operations
- Statement acknowledging the patient's right to revoke or cancel authorization
- Statement indicating the patient’s right to refuse the release of information
- Statement that information disclosed pursuant to the authorization may be subject to re-disclosure and is no longer protected under this authorization
- Statement that will not condition treatment on patient providing authorization
- An expiration date
- Signature of patient or patient’s representative
Is there a fee to obtain my records?
- No fee will be charged for records copied at the request of a health care provider (i.e. physician, nurse practitioner, nurse, etc.) or for records sent to a health care provider at the request of the patient for the purpose of continuing care. However, there is a fee charged for the search and duplication of medical records for personal reasons.
- There is a fee charged for the search and duplication of medical records for personal requests.
- Third party requests (attorney’s , insurance, etc. ) will be charged as outlined in SC state statute, Section 44-7-130, a fee of no more than $0.65 per page up to 30 pages and $0.50 per page thereafter will be billed.
- In certain cases, a clerical fee of $15.00 will be administered. Requestors will be sent a prepayment invoice upon determination of total cost.
- Radiology imaging copy charges:
- $6.50 for patients ($3.00 each additional copy)
- $50.00 for third party requestors ($5.00 each additional copy)
- *Plus tax and postage fees
What is included within a medical record and what should I request?
The following provides a brief summary of the various parts of a medical record which may help to identify information to request:
Discharge Summary, History & Physical, Operative Reports, Radiology Reports, Labs, Office Visits/Notes, Consultations, ED Reports.
When should I expect to receive my medical records?
According to South Carolina Statute, Section 44-7-325, MUSC shall comply with a request for medical records no later than 30 days after the request has been received. The goal at MUSC is to complete requests within 7 to 30 days of receipt. We understand that at times extenuating circumstances do not allow for 30 days; therefore, we make every effort to accommodate to satisfy our patients’ needs.
Who can legally sign for medical records?
- Healthcare Power of Attorney:
- The Patient and/or anyone who is named as a decision maker or attorney-in-fact under a healthcare power of attorney signed by the patient.
- Durable Power of Attorney:
- If there is a durable power of attorney, a pre-approval is required by the Release of Information staff.
- If the patient is deceased, the record must be requested by the court appointed "personal representative" presenting a raised seal original certificate of appointment issued by the Probate Court.
- If the patient is under the age of 16, the patient’s parent may sign.
- If you have other special circumstances, please contact the Release of Information Supervisor for assistance at 843-792-3881.
What if there is an error?
If you have received records in response to your request and believe that an error has occurred with respect to the release, please notify us as follows:
- If you believe the records received are not complete, contact Health Information Services at 843-792-3881 and we would be happy to review the release and remedy any error in the release.
- If you believe records of another patient were released to you, please notify the MUSC Compliance Office immediately at 843-792-4037. Please understand that any records that are released in error are confidential and privileged and we will either retrieve the records or ask you to destroy the copies received.