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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 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.