Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I request a copy of my health records?
If you were a patient of a Providence Health Care hospital you can obtain a copy of your health records by submitting a request in writing to the hospital where you were treated (or otherwise noted):
St. Paul’s (includes Marion Hospice)
Mount Saint Joseph
St. Vincent’s Hospitals: Brock Fahrni and Langara
- Where can I get a request form for my health records?
- A printable version of the request form is available online. Request forms are also available at each hospital (listed at the bottom of this page).
- How long is the authorization to release health information valid for?
- The authorization is valid for six months following the date it was signed.
- Will the hospital have all of my records on file?
- Each hospital manages their own health records. If you are seeking records for a specific timeframe or from more than one hospital, you must indicate this on the request form. Be as specific as possible as this will assist the request process.
- How long are health records kept on file?
- Since 1986, there has been a ban on the destruction of health records. Previously, there was a 10-year retention period established in the hospital act. The number of years that health records are retained before 1986 will vary by hospital.
- Can I have my health records released to another individual?
- Yes. Please specify the recipient information in Part 3 of the Authorization For the Release of Health Records form.
- What if the patient is a minor?
- The patient’s authorization is required if the patient is 12 or over and is actively involved in decisions about health care or has provided consent for care.
Consent from the patient’s guardian is required if:
- the patient is under 12 years of age; or
- under 19 years of age and not actively involved in decisions about health care
Please provide the application form, signed by a guardian and include confirmation that the requestor is the patient’s guardian (this may consist of a copy of the court order or agreement, or a letter from a professional such as a physician, lawyer or teacher), and an explanation of the reasons for the request.
- What if the patient is incapable of giving consent?
- If an adult patient is incapable of giving consent, any of the following, acting within the scope of their duties or powers, may provide authorization on behalf of an adult:
- Committee appointed by court order (where records are required to carry out committee’s duties)
- Person acting under a Power of Attorney (where records are required for financial or legal matters)
- Litigation Guardian (where records are required for litigation)
- Representative under a Representation Agreement (where records are required to carry out representative’s duties)
- What if the patient is deceased?
- A person does not lose his or her rights to privacy after death. In situations where a family member or personal representative requests records concerning a deceased person, we must have as much information as possible to determine whether the request is in the deceased’s best interest and whether the disclosure of any information would be an unreasonable invasion of the deceased’s privacy. Please provide the following:
- the Authorization for the Release of Health Care Records form, signed by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate, or the deceased’s nearest relative;
- Any documentation concerning the appointment of an executor or administrator; or documentation providing proof of relationship to the deceased (e.g. birth certificate);
- A full explanation of the reason for the request.
- How do I request birth information?
- If you are looking for your birth information (i.e. proof of birth, time of birth), please submit a request that includes your mother’s full name at the time of your birth, your name at the time of birth and your date of birth.
- How much does it cost to request medical information?
- Patients who request standard processing of their own health records will not be charged a fee. Patients who request special processing of their own health records may be charged a fee for the following services: rush requests, certification, shipping and handling, additional copies of the same information.
- How do I know my health records will remain confidential?
- Keeping patient information confidential is of utmost importance. All personnel are bound by a signed confidentiality agreement. Records Management also operates in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
- How long will it take to process my request for records?
- A standard application for records will be processed within 30 working days. Urgent requests can be processed sooner, but are subject to processing fees.
- How do I submit my request form?
- Please fax/mail/deliver the completed form to the hospital where you were treated (or otherwise noted). A written request for health records must include your name, date of birth, mailing address and details in the type of information you need. The request must be dated and signed.
- Can I submit my request form online?
- No, as the request form must be signed, it can’t be submitted online.
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Dianne Doyle, President & CEO, and Geoff Plant, Chair, PHC Board of Directors