Medical Records: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can a patient review and/or receive copies of their own medical record?
Yes. Patients have a right to access their own medical records. A written,
signed authorization request needs to be filed with Health Information
Management Department called the Authorization to Release Protected Health
to download the form. We cannot accept requests over the phone. You must
sign the authorization form and present it by mail or in person. You will
also be responsible to pay for copy fees.
Question: What does the information in my medical record mean?
Answer: You should always discuss your health information with your doctor. They
can help you understand entries and interpret the information on your chart.
Question: I've noted incorrect information in my medical record. What should I do?
Answer: If you have questions or would like to request a correction to specific
information in your medical record, please call the Health Information
Management Department at 818.902.2939 and our staff will be happy to assist you.
Question: Who is legally authorized to obtain copies of my medical records?
Answer: Adult patients can request copies of their own medical records. A parent
or legal guardian may ask for copies of their minor child's medical records.
An individual with a legal power of attorney can request copies of a patient
who has granted them the legal power of attorney (for example, wife, husband
or partner, or a disabled adult). The deceased patient's next of kin may
ask for copies of their medical records.
Question: Can my doctor, who is outside of Valley Presbyterian Hospital,
request my records?
Answer: Yes, your doctor can fax a request for records on their office letterhead.
We ask for two patient identifiers (date of birth, full name) in order
to establish physician/patient relationship.
Question: How long does it take to receive requested information?
Answer: We process requests as quickly as possible. We are allowed a maximum of
15 days to respond to a request, but we will do our best to complete your
request as soon as possible.
Question: Who can pick up medical records?
Answer: If someone other than the patient will be picking up copies of medical
records, please let us know in advance. The person picking up the medical
records must bring written authorization from the patient as well as a
copy of the patient's identification. Identification is also required
for the person picking up the record.
Question: When you send records to another facility do you send copies
or the original?
Answer: The medical record itself is a legal document and the property of Valley
Presbyterian Hospital. Therefore, the original medical record stays at
Valley Presbyterian and copies are sent to the other facility.
Question: What is the charge for copies of medical records?
Answer: There is a 25 cent per page charge for personal copies of medical records
or for copies sent to law firms and insurance companies. There is no charge
if your records are being sent directly to another health care provider.
Attorneys requesting records must pay a $15 processing fee.
Question: Do you accept credit/debit cards?
Answer: No, we do not collect payments. You will receive an invoice for payment.
Question: My child's school needs a copy of immunization records. How do
I request that?
Answer: We will only have the record of the first shot your child received. You
must sign a release form to obtain this documentation. Your child's pediatrician
will have a record of all immunizations and will be able to print this
out for you.
Question: How long are medical records kept?
Answer: Medical records for adult patients will be retained until at least 10
years from the date on which the patient was last treated at Valley Presbyterian
Hospital. For our minor patients, records are retained for 25 years.
Question: What if the patient is deceased?
Answer: If a patient is deceased, the authorization must be signed by the appointed
personal representative. Otherwise, a surviving spouse, an adult child,
a parent, or responsible next of kin may authorize release of records.
If you are requesting records for a deceased patient, please be prepared
to provide proof of beneficiary status or Power of Attorney.
Question: Can I get my medical records on CD?
Answer: We don't have this technology available for medical records at this time.
Question: Can I get a CD of my radiology/imaging studies?
Answer: Yes, but you will need to contact the Imaging Department at (818) 902-5294.
Completion of the Authorization to Release form will be necessary. A CD
of any cardiac studies are also provided by Radiology.
Question: Can I request a copy of a Death Certificate?
Answer: Death Certificates are available through the Office of Vital Records.
Office of Vital Records
313 North Figueroa St, Room L-1
Los Angeles, CA
Phone: (213) 240-7812
Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday