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Right to Nursing Home Records and Medical Information

Nursing home residents and their personal representatives have a right to stay informed regarding their condition and their care.

42 CFR § 483.10(g) provides:

(1) The resident has the right to be informed of his or her rights and of all rules and regulations governing resident conduct and responsibilities during his or her stay in the facility.

(2) The resident has the right to access personal and medical records pertaining to him or herself.

(i) The facility must provide the resident with access to personal and medical records pertaining to him or herself, upon an oral or written request, in the form and format requested by the individual, if it is readily producible in such form and format (including in an electronic form or format when such records are maintained electronically); or, if not, in a readable hard copy form or such other form and format as agreed to by the facility and the individual, within 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays); and

(ii) The facility must allow the resident to obtain a copy of the records or any portions thereof (including in an electronic form or format when such records are maintained electronically) upon request and 2 working days advance notice to the facility. The facility may impose a reasonable, cost-based fee on the provision of copies, provided that the fee includes only the cost of:

(A) Labor for copying the records requested by the individual, whether in paper or electronic form;

(B) Supplies for creating the paper copy or electronic media if the individual requests that the electronic copy be provided on portable media; and

(C) Postage, when the individual has requested the copy be mailed.

(3) With the exception of information described in paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(11) of this section, the facility must ensure that information is provided to each resident in a form and manner the resident can access and understand, including in an alternative format or in a language that the resident can understand. Summaries that translate information described in paragraph (g)(2) of this section may be made available to the patient at their request and expense in accordance with applicable law.

In addition, under Georgia law residents in long term care facilities have a right to access all medical records relating to their treatment. O.C.G.A. § 31-8-108(b)(6) provides: “To obtain from the resident’s physician or the physician attached to the facility a complete and current explanation concerning the resident’s medical diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis in language the resident can understand. Each resident shall have access to all information in the medical records of the resident and shall be permitted to inspect and receive a copy of such records unless medically contraindicated. The facility may charge a reasonable fee for duplication, which fee shall not exceed actual cost.”

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