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Conditions and procedures for copying records, Ga. Code Ann., § 31-33-2

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Conditions and procedures for copying records

A provider who has custody over a patient’s medical record must retain the record for at least 10 years from the date it was created.  However, this does not apply to a provider who has retired or sold his practice and has given patients notice or to a hospital. 

A provider must provide a complete copy of medical record to a patient or patient representative upon written request.  If the patient is deceased the following people may access the medical record:

  • Executor, administrator or temporary administrator of the estate;
  • If none of the above have been appointed, the deceased’s surviving spouse;
  • If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased’s surviving child;
  • If there is no surviving child, then the parent. 

Any record that is requested must be provided to the patient within 30 days of the request.  The record request must include an authorization that complies with HIPAA, and must be signed and in writing.  A provider may refuse to provide the record until and unless a signed written authorization is submitted. 

A provider may refuse to provide access to a patient’s medical records if he or she reasonably believes disclosure of the record to patient would be harmful to the patient’s physical or mental health.  If the provider refuses to provide the record, the patient may submit a written request that the record be sent to another provider. 

Any person who releases medical records in accordance with this law and in good faith may not be held liable in a civil suit by the patient or patient’s estate or a criminal suit.

Current as of June 2016