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Georgia Medical Records Laws

When you go to a doctor, you trust her with extremely personal information. Yet we rarely think to ask about the rules and regulations regarding how our medical information is stored and shared. Sure, you think your medical records are private, but which laws apply to doctors sharing your personal health information? Here is a brief introduction to medical records laws in Georgia.

General Medical Records Laws

A patient's medical records are protected by a combination of state and federal laws that govern the privacy protection of medical records, and determine whether doctors may share your medical information without your permission. While such information is confidential under most circumstances, medical professionals are required to report suspected child abuse to the proper authorities in virtually every state. Georgia medical records laws require a patient's consent and confidentiality waiver in order for any medical records to be released, except by subpoena or other court order.

Medical Records Laws in Georgia

State medical records laws can vary. The basic provisions of Georgia medical record laws are listed in the following chart.

Who Has Access to Records?

Disclosure of medical records pursuant to laws requiring disclosure or to limited consent to disclosure does not destroy confidential or privileged nature (§24-9-42)

What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?

Psychiatrist (§24-9-21); physician (§24-9-40); pharmacist (§24-9-40)

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Venereal disease and suspected child abuse (§§19-7-5; 31-17-2)

Patient Consent and Waiver

Patient must make written authorization or waiver (or parents/guardian in case of minor) except by subpoena or appropriate court order (§24-9-40)

Insurance Companies

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Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

All AIDS information confidential (20-9-40.1); may be disclosed to that person or in case of minor to parents or guardian and with notice, to reasonably believed spouse/partner (§24-9-47)

Along with Georgia laws regulating medical records, there is the federal law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Under HIPAA doctors and their staff are required to keep your medical records confidential. There are three exceptions, however:

  • If you need emergency treatment;
  • If you introduce your health or injuries in a court case; or
  • If the government requires specific reporting (mostly for births, deaths, and communicable diseases.

Georgia Medical Records Laws: Related Resources

Legal regulations in the health care system can seem complex and confusing. If you would like more general information, including what you should do if you learn your medical records have improperly disclosed, you can visit FindLaw’s health care law section. If you would like to consult a lawyer regarding a health care case, you can contact a Georgia health care attorney in your area.

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