Medical Records/Health Information Services
Main Office Phone: (906) 635-4370
Your medical record is a comprehensive collection of the following:
- results of all laboratory tests, x-rays, other diagnostic studies;
- descriptions of medical treatment received while hospitalized or treated as an inpatient/outpatient;
- physician reports from examinations;
- documentation of surgery, treatment and medications, and;
- observations by nurses and other members of your health care team.
For a variety of reasons, patients sometimes need to obtain a copy of their medical record or have it released to another provider. The following information is a guide to obtaining that information.
Obtaining Copies of Your Medical Records
Before the Health Information Services department can release medical records, patients are required to provide a written request that includes the following:
- Patient's full name and date of birth (list any other names the patient may have had).
- Name of organization records requested from.
- Name and address of organization or person to receive the records.
- Purpose and need for disclosure.
- Specific information being requested (ie, type of report/information and dates of service, etc.).
- Specify authorization's expiration date if desired (see ROI form).
- The patient's signature or a patient's legal representative's signature. Authorizations signed by a representative must contain a copy of the guardianship papers or Personal Representative papers.
- Date of the signature.
- Witness verification of person signing.
Authorization for release of protected health information (medical records) can be a letter, as long as it contains the above elements. A release of information form can be downloaded, completed, and returned to the Medical Records Department.
If the person picking up your medical records was not listed in the original authorization, provide an addendum (letter) with the date and your signature authorizing the designated person to pick up the records. If we can confirm your signature and the identity of the receiving individual, we will release your records to that person.
Anyone picking up medical records will be asked to show a government-issued form of ID before the records will be released.
Requests for medical records may be mailed or faxed to:
War Memorial Hospital
Medical Records Department
500 Osborn Boulevard
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
FAX: (906) 635-4422
Records will be sent through the U.S. mail. Records for medical emergencies will be faxed directly to a physician or medical facility. Our average turnaround time for processing requests is approximately 10 - 14 days; by law, however, we have 30 days to complete release of information requests.
The War Memorial Hospital Medical Record Department is not able to give out any medical information over the phone as to protect patient confidentiality. We are not able to confirm identity over the telephone, so we do not supply information over the telephone. Additionally, we are not clinical personnel and cannot explain test results.
An authorization is not needed to send copies of records to the physician overseeing your care while in the hospital, your family physician of record, and/or the physician who ordered outpatient testing. You may be able to obtain this information over the phone from your physician, who has a relationship with you and is comfortable confirming your identity on the telephone. This depends on the physician's policy and may not be true of all offices.
There is no charge if you wish to have a copy of your record supplied directly to a physician or healthcare facility.
Release of Information to Estate of the Deceased
Only the personal representative of the Estate of the deceased individual can authorize request of medical records of the deceased. The personal representative fills a role similar to that of the executor and is the title now commonly used. The personal representative has to be appointed by the Probate Court and bring documentation proving the appointment before records will be released. Items such as Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, or designation as decision-maker in an Advance Directive are no longer valid after the death of the patient. As well, we cannot accept copies of wills or trust documents naming potential personal representatives, they must be formally appointed by the court before we can accept their authority. Releasing records to anyone other than the Personal Representative is illegal, as stated in Michigan Court Law 600.2157.
This area of law is open to much interpretation and differing opinions. We will be glad to review any supplied documentation with War Memorial Hospital's Risk Management and/or legal counsel.
Non-custodial parents have an equal right to a child's medical information, with certain exceptions, as requried by law. They can only be denied access if they have been stripped of all parental rights. We must have knowledge of the lack of parental rights to facilitate the denial.
Birth Certificates & Paternity Papers
Birth certificates and paternity papers are filed with the county in which you were born and the state in which you were born. Copies of these documents may be obtained from the County Clerk's office (906) 635-6300 or the State Registrar where you were born. The hospital is not allowed to release copies of birth certificates and a copy is not maintained in the medical record.
Errors on Birth Certificates and Paternity Papers
We can only make corrections to birth certificates and paternity papers BEFORE theses are signed by parent and are sent into the state. Once these papers ae signed and sent to the courthouse you need to contact the County Clerk's Office (906) 635-6300 for changes to be made, at a fee of $40 to you. We only keep birth certificates / paternity papers approximately 1 - 2 weeks at the hospital, before sending to the state.
A reasonable fee shall be charged to defer the costs of photocopying. However, copies will be provided at no charge for patient care requests.
Patient record copy fees (plus actual postage if mailed):
$1.08 per page for pages 1 - 20
$0.54 per pages 21 - 50
$0.22 per page 51 and up
$2.00 per microfilm page
Personal Health Records
Keeping your own personal health record (PHR) allows you to provide doctors with valuable information that can help improve the quality of care you receive. A PHR can help reduce or eliminate duplicate tests and allow you to receive faster, safer treatment and care in an emergency. In short, a PHR helps you play a more active role in yours and your loved ones' healthcare. To learn more, please visit the following American Health Information Management Association website: www.myphr.com or click on the link MY PHR.
Hours of Operation
The Medical Record Department is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on weekends.