Conquering Medical Records

podcast and resources belowAPHA Expert Call-in

November 2020

Most advocates and care managers have run into roadblocks when it comes to clients’ medical records. From being denied access, to receiving only partial records; from being overwhelmed at their extensive information, to trying to figure out how locate the information needed…. And then… what if there are mistakes?

It won’t surprise you to know that health systems – not just their medical record keeping, but much of what they do – is intentionally opaque. That’s one reason advocates are hired to begin with – because it’s all so difficult for a patient to figure out.

If you have a clinical background, interpreting records may be easier for you than those advocates or care managers who don’t have that ability. Or, if you are obtaining records from a health system you use on a regular basis, you may have developed a process that works for you.

But if you are wading into anything about records that you’re unfamiliar with, including getting copies of them to begin with, then you’ll want to listen to what our experts have to say.

Grace Cordovano, long time advocate and now partner in Unblock Health, an enterprise focused on making records available to patients and advocates, will join Marina Emery, long time clinician and now advocate, to help us better understand the lay of the medical records land. From a discussion of legal rights, to getting a hold of the required records, to understanding their content well enough to create a medical history timeline, to correcting any errors they may contain – and everything in between, Grace and Marina will help us overcome our frustrations and conquer the hurdles the system puts in front of us.


headset Podcast Available: 44 minutes  


  resources-sm Resources

From our experts:

Also from Grace:

This is the list of core elements and core statements that may be required(as mentioned during the call):

A general HIPAA authorization, as per 164.508(c) (1), has the following “core elements”:

  1. Meaningful description of the PHI to be disclosed
  2. ID of the person authorized to make the disclosure of PHI (to whom the covered entity is authorized to make the disclosure)
  3. Description of what the PHI identified is to be used for
  4. An expiration date/event
  5. An individual’s signature and date; or signed by personal rep, with proof supporting their authority to act on behalf the individual

And as per 164.508(c) (2), also the following “core statements”:

  1. an individual may revoke the authorization in writing (with instructions on how to do so)
  2. treatment, payment, enrollment, or eligibility for benefits may not be conditioned on obtaining the authorization if such conditioning is prohibited by the Privacy Rule or, if conditioning is permitted, a statement about the consequences of refusing to sign the authorization
  3. PHI may be potentially redisclosed by the recipient and no longer protected by the Privacy Rule

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