Gaining access to someone else’s medical records at Salem and West Valley Hospitals

By Gena Inches, manager of operations, health information management 

You may need to make medical decisions on behalf of a relative, a loved one or a friend. A personal representative is someone the patient trusts – someone who has authority under the law to make medical decisions for them. The patient’s medical records could be necessary to help you make informed medical decisions.

At Salem and West Valley Hospitals, anyone can go to the Health Information Management department and request a release of information authorization form. Using this form, individuals can request their medical records for visits that occurred at Salem Hospital and West Valley Hospital. The form also allows the patient to appoint someone else to receive their medical records. To request this form, please go to:

  • Salem Hospital Health Information Management Department at 890 Oak St, Building B, 2nd floor or call 503-561-5750

       — or —

  • West Valley Hospital Health Information Management Department at 525 SE Washington St., Dallas or call 503-623-7309 

There are federal and state laws and institutional policies to support the patient’s privacy and fulfill the patient’s request by allowing someone else access to their medical records. This process works when the patient is able to authorize the release.

However, there are times the patient is unable to authorize the personal representative to receive medical records, and yet records are needed to make well-informed medical decisions on behalf of the patient.

There are ways to gain access to medical records without a release of information authorization form signed by the patient. The personal representative can present the Health Information Management department with a Health Care Power of Attorney or Advance Directive that specifically identifies the personal representative by name and grants permission to make medical decisions. 

Involving family or friends can be beneficial and an integral part of your health care. It is important to be well informed of decisions made on your behalf. To help minimize frustration or anxiety during a loved one’s hospital stay, ensure your personal representative has the proper paperwork to make decisions on your behalf. 

Gena Inches
Gena Inches is the manager of operations for the Health Information Management departments at Salem Hospital and West Valley Hospital. In her six year tenure, Inches has overseen operations and strategic planning that resulted in medical record integrity and system wide documentation management. Gena is a Michigan native and moved to Dallas, Oregon 25 years ago. She graduated from Dallas High School in 2000 and continued her education at Western Oregon University, where she earned her Bachelors of Science Degree. Gena likes to go camping and fishing with family and looks forward to spending time with loved ones during the upcoming holidays.