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South Carolina Medical Records Laws

Most of us go to the doctor hoping they’ll know what’s wrong and how to make it better. But when you stop to think about it, we trust our doctors and hospitals with private and personal medical information, often without giving a second thought about the regulations regarding how this medical information is stored or shared. As it turns out, the Palmetto State has laws that apply to how doctors and hospitals share our personal health information to make sure our medical records are safe and secure. Here are the basics of medical records laws in South Carolina.

Medical Records Laws

Both federal and state medical records laws govern the privacy protection of medical records. Generally speaking, your medical records are confidential, meaning only you can give permission to share them. Aside from a court order, South Carolina limits access to medical records to the patient. Medical records statutes regulate whether doctors may share your medical information without your permission. For example, there are some specific circumstances in which medical professionals are required to report health information, like positive tests for HIV and certain communicable diseases.

Medical Records Laws in South Carolina

The chart below highlights some of South Carolina’s medical records statutes.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 44-115-10, et seq.: Physicians’ Patient Records Act

Who Has Access to Records?

Patient or representative

What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?

Mental health provider-patient (19-11-95)

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Sexually transmitted diseases (44-29-70)

Patient Consent and Waiver

-

Insurance Companies

-

Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

Information and records are strictly confidential except in limited circumstances (§44-29-136); in minor cases, if attending public school, superintendent and nurse must be notified; Court orders: (§44-29-135)

Along with South Carolina law, there are also federal medical records protections. Most of these are listed in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires doctors and their staff to keep your medical records confidential. There are three exceptions, however, if:

  • A patient needs emergency treatment;
  • A patient introduces his or her health or injuries in a court case; or
  • The government requires specific reporting (mostly for births, deaths, and communicable diseases.

South Carolina Medical Records Laws: Related Resources

Medical records laws con be complicated. For more articles and resources on this topic, 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 legal assistance regarding a health care matter, you can contact a South Carolina health care attorney.

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