Q. We are a referral-based MRI facility. As a standard procedure, we fax MRI reports to referring providers after radiologist review. Patients can schedule follow-up appointments with referring providers to obtain the results of their MRI scans. Patients regularly request a copy of the report at the time of their MRI scans or within several days of the scan when they pick up a copy of MRI films. Does HIPAA require us to provide patients a copy of the report even when the provider has not interpreted the report and image?
A. Patients have the right to request a copy of or to view their medical record; this includes the report. However, covered entities are not required to provide a copy of the medical record or a specific part of the medical record immediately. Covered entities have 30 days to provide a copy of the record, which includes providing a copy of the report.
HIPAA doesn't require covered entities to provide patients immediate access to all or part of their medical records. Patients most likely will have access to their MRI-related report by simply scheduling a follow-up appointment.