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Missouri Medical Records Laws

Overview of Missouri Medical Record Laws

Generally speaking, medical and health care records are considered confidential and only shared with those who need to know (care providers) or who have been given permission. The privacy of medical records is protected by a combination of federal and state laws. In Missouri, medical records are available to patients or their representatives upon request. Upon request, health care providers are required to furnish a copy of the patient's medical records to the authorized party within a reasonable time.

Also, the law requires such records to be sent electronically if the patient requests it and if the records are in fact stored electronically. If the records happen to be improperly disclosed after being sent in good faith (and in compliance with the proper procedures), the provider will not be held liable for the disclosure.

The following table lists the basics of Missouri's medical records laws, with links to additional sources. See FindLaw's Patient Rights Basics section for related articles.

Who Has Access to Records? Patients or their representatives upon request (§191.227)
What Privileges Apply to Medical Records? Physicians, psychologists, chiropractors and dentists (§491.060)
Mandatory Reporting Requirements -
Patient Consent and Waiver -
Insurance Companies -
Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS All information concerning one's HIV status is confidential, but may be released to public employees for limited purposes (§191.656)

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

The Doctor-Patient Privilege

Missouri law states that licensed physicians, psychologists, chiropractors, and dentists are considered "incompetent to testify" in a court of law. This is commonly referred to as the doctor-patient privilege, which has limits of its own (including the disclosure of sexually transmitted infections if a defendant has been charged with sexual assault, for example).

Federal Protection of Medical Records

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires strict confidentiality of patients' medical records, with the following three exceptions:

  1. Doctors may share medical information with any individual making medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and receiving emergency care.
  2. Doctors may share you medical history if you have a court case involving an accident or workers' compensation claim (and you have introduced your injuries as evidence).
  3. Doctors may provide certain information as required by the government, including births and deaths, communicable diseases, etc.

 

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