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Issue Alert - 04-04-06

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Date:

Apr 12, 2004

Issue Summary:

Medical Records Access Act signed by the Governor

Persons Affected:

Anyone seeking copies of their medical records


Background

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What's Happening?

In 2003, advocates were successful in finding a sponsor in the House of Representatives for a bill that would provide one free copy of a patient's medical records. House Bill 4706 was introduced on May 20, 2003. Congressional hearings were held, where Legal Aid and private attorneys testified in favor of the bill. It was passed unanimously out of the House on June 19, 2003. The bill was reported to the Senate Committee on Health Policy. Meetings and hearings were again held, with the bill finally being voted unanimously out of the Senate on March 16, 2004. Governor Granholm signed the bill into law on April 1, 2004. It became effective upon signature.Michigan joins an impressive list of states that now have this type of legislation. It will allow applicants for Medicaid and Social Security benefits to obtain copies of their medical records at no cost. Attorneys will no longer have to pick and choose information without seeing the entire record. Hopefully this will lead to more effective advocacy on behalf of these clients.

What Should Advocates Do?

Be aware of the new legislation. If necessary, cite to the new law when requesting medical records and provide appropriate proof of indigency, if required by the health care facility.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services office handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan LawHelp web site (http://MI.LawHelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.