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Minnesota Medical Records Laws

Whenever we visit the doctor, we trust them and their staff with very private and personal health information. And most of the time, we don't even wonder about the regulations regarding how our medical information is stored or shared. While most of us assume medical records are safe and secure, what exactly are the laws that apply to doctors and hospitals sharing our personal health information in the North Star State? This is a brief introduction to medical records laws in Minnesota.

Medical Records Laws

A combination of federal and state medical records laws regulate the privacy protection of medical records. As a general rule, your medical records are completely confidential, and these statutes determine whether doctors may share your medical information without your permission. Minnesota law limits access to medical records to the patient and his or her parent, guardian, or representative. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as court orders, situations in which medical professionals are required to report health information (like positive HIV tests and certain communicable diseases) and whether a potential motor vehicle driver may be impaired.

Medical Records Laws in Minnesota

Minnesota’s medical records statutes are highlighted in the following table.

Who Has Access to Records?

Patient, patient's representative, or minor's parent or guardian has the right to copy doctor's and hospital records about themselves (if provider determines that information is detrimental to physical or mental health of patient, may withhold information and supply to third party) (MN Statutes §144.293); mentally committed patients have access (MN Statutes §253B.03)

What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?

Physician, nurse, or psychologist may not disclose confidential information acquired in professional capacity without the consent of the patient (MN Statutes §595.02)

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

-

Patient Consent and Waiver

-

Insurance Companies

-

Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

Mandatory HIV Reporting MN Statutes §214.19

Along with Minnesota's medical records protections, there are also federal laws, most of which are listed in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), that protect a patient’s privacy. HIPAA requires doctors and their staff to keep your medical records confidential, absent one of these exceptions:

  • 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.)

Minnesota Medical Records Laws: Related Resources

The laws that govern our medical information can be confusing. You can contact a Minnesota health care attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding a health care matter. You can also find more information and resources on this topic, including what you should do if you learn your medical records have improperly disclosed, in FindLaw's health care law section.

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