Requesting Your Medical Records
At OrthoBethesda, all requests for medical records must be in writing. This helps us to protect your private information. We need to document every time your records are released from the office, even to yourself. Please send your completed release form to us by mail (10215 Fernwood Road, Suite 506, Bethesda, MD, 20817), by fax (301-897-8597), or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please indicate how you would like to receive your records—by mail, fax, secure email, or office pick-up. Allow 2-4 days for your request to be processed.
Generally, it’s best to obtain personal copies of records and images, because a healthcare facility may be slow to process records into your chart. Depending on the size of the facility, these things may be lost altogether. When you obtain personal copies, you can distribute to any provider you like without filling multiple release forms, and you don’t risk your records being purged over time. We do not charge patients for records.
Accessing Your Records Online
Your office visit notes are available immediately without a traditional HIPAA release form, if you sign up for our FollowMyHealth portal. You can also use the portal to request your other records, like MRI reports, lab results, or therapy orders, etc. Keep in mind that these requests can only be fulfilled through FollowMyHealth. If you would like records sent a different way (mail, email, fax, etc.), please use the HIPAA-compliant release form. X-ray images are NOT compatible with FollowMyHealth.
Requesting Your X-ray Images
You may request x-ray images taken at OrthoBethesda after 2009. Our x-rays are digital, so we do not provide films. Unlimited x-ray images can be purchased on a CD for $10. Purchasing a CD is the only way to obtain the DICOM files required by most doctors’ offices. This allows the doctor to zoom and change contrast, etc. There is no charge to obtain paper copies or digital copies, but please limit your request to fifteen images. Digital images and paper prints are the same images in different formats. They are both unacceptable for diagnostic use.
Sending Records to Another Doctor
If you need to get your records to another doctor’s office, fill out the release form with as much contact information as possible for that facility. If we receive your request/release form before 2 PM, we can generally begin transferring to another provider’s office on the same day, especially by fax or email. Records sent by fax can include office visit notes, imaging reports, lab results, etc., but no images. Again, images are NEVER sent by fax. We will mail a CD with DICOM x-ray files to another healthcare provider’s office at no charge. We will email x-ray images if the facility accepts it that way.
If you need records sent to another facility and you don’t have time for a proper request, it is best for the facility to request directly from us, by calling 240-482-2418, emailing email@example.com or faxing 301-897-8597. Only a healthcare provider’s office can bypass the HIPAA-compliant release form with a verbal request. Patients cannot use verbal requests.
Sending Your Other Doctor’s Records to Us
You are welcome to send your records from another doctor directly to our office, using mail, email, fax, or drop-off to the office. We will retain copies of records and reports electronically. Please note, we will not store imaging CDs longer than six weeks. It is best if you hold on to your imaging CD until the time of your visit.
If you need to request records from a different facility, contact the facility directly, as different offices have different records protocols. For example, some offices will only accept requests directly from other providers. If this is the case, we still need your request in writing, using the “Records Request from a Different Facility.”
Please complete with as much information as you can, including any contact information of the other facility, such as fax, phone, email, address. Also please specifically write the dates or range of dates that you were seen and for which body part. This is very helpful in obtaining your medical records. Send your completed form to us, and we will send to your other doctor, or simply send your completed form directly to your other doctor.
For Providers: Requesting Records
Providers only, send your request to fax 301-897-8597 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send reports by fax, typically on the same day. If you are requesting images, please specify if we should mail a CD with DICOM files or email image PDFs. We do not charge providers for records or images. The direct number to medical records is 240-482-2418.
For Attorneys: Requesting Records
Attorneys, send your requests by mail, fax, or email. We honor any HIPAA-compliant release forms. You can request records, billing, images, and even PT records and PT billing, using the same request. We do charge copying, per-page, and shipping fees (However, we do honor HiTech requests). We do not automatically send records as the patient continues treatment. You will need to request updated records. We will not charge for updated records after initial payment of fees.