Massachusetts Medical Records Laws

Both federal and state laws, including the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) protect the privacy and integrity of patients' medical records. Despite patient privacy, many state health records laws require physicians and other medical workers to report certain medical conditions when necessary to protect the general public or the patient. In Massachusetts, medical records laws hold all privileged patient medical records as confidential and allow third-party access under limited circumstances.

Learn more about Massachusetts medical records laws with the below chart and links to additional sources.

Who Has Access to Records?

 

Patients have a right to confidentiality of all records and communications with medical professional to the extent provided by law. They may inspect and receive copy of their medical records, but the healthcare provider will keep the original copy of the records to make sure future healthcare providers will receive necessary medical information.

A psychotherapist may give a summary of the medical record if a full report would adversely affect a patient's well being (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 112, section 12CC). Generally, mental health records are private except in the following circumstances:

  • In response to a court order;
  • At patient's request; or
  • If a mental health commissioner allows for the sake of the best interest of a patient (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 123, section 36).

Medical professionals may also release records to an authorized person if the patient is a minor or to an executor or administrator of an estate if the patient is deceased.

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

In certain situations, medical personnel must report patient injuries:

  • Any injury from the discharge of gun;
  • A burn affecting over five percent of the body; or
  • A rape or sexual assault (the victim's name is not included in report) (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, section 12A).

In addition to mandatory reporting requirements, a physician may report a venereal disease to patient's fiancé or parents (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, section12).

Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

Labs and hospitals that conduct blood tests for HIV/AIDS must not disclose results without obtaining written informed consent of patients (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 111, section 70F)

Research the Law:

Related Resources for Medical Records Laws:

Patients who believe their privacy rights may have been violated should consider contacting  a Massachusetts health care attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.