The responsibilities of physicians in managing their medical records are many, demanding and costly. Several laws and regulations generally come into play in addressing the range of issues that arise in retaining, releasing, and transferring medical records. HIPAA is a major consideration for physician practices.
Iowa Board of Medicine
Disciplinary rules and office practice standards adopted by the Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM) set forth expectations regarding medical record practice that physicians should be aware of. Search for rules through the IBM's web site at http://medicalboard.iowa.gov/.
- Transfer of medical records, Iowa Administrative Code r. 653-12.4(32) and r. 653-13.7(7)
- Management of medical records, Iowa Administrative Code r. 653-12.4(33)
- Retention of medical records, Iowa Administrative Code r. 653-13.7(8)
AMA Medical Ethics
Search the AMA web site at http://www.ama-assn.org through a topic search or by linking to the AMA Policy Finder to find ethical opinions on medical records issued by the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) and approved by the AMA House of Delegates.
- E-7.01, Records of Physician's Availability of Information to Other Physicians
- E7.02, Records of Physicians: Information and Patients
- E7.025, Records of Physicians: Access by Non-Treating Medical Staff
- E7.03, Records of Physicians upon Retirement or Departure from a Group
- E-7.04, Sale of a Medical Practice
- E-7.05, Retention of Medical Records
Iowa's Workers' Compensation Law
Iowa law's law on workers' compensation specifically governs releases of medical records information. Regulations of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner address fees for the exchange of medical records in the workers' compensation context. Access Iowa Code sections and workers' compensation rules at http://www.legis.state.ia.us/ and clicking on "Iowa Law" or from the Workers' Compensation Commissioner's web site at http://www.iowaworkforce.org/wc/ and search the links to law and rules.
- Release of medical records relative to a workers' compensation claim, Iowa Code section 85.27(2).
- Exchange of records, including fees, in workers' compensation claims, Iowa Administrative Code r. 876-8.9.
- Authorization to Release Information Regarding Claimants Seeking Workers' Compensation Benefits (compliant with HIPAA and Iowa law) available at http://www.iowaworkforce.org/wc/publications.htm.
HIPAA is an essential consideration on any issue involving medical records. HIPAA resources, particularly the HIPAA Privacy Rule, can be referenced on in our HIPAA section.
Iowa State Bar Association Authorization Form
In response to the requirements for release of protected health information (PHI) under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the Iowa State Bar Association (ISBA) developed an authorization form for release of medical records that is compliant with HIPAA and Iowa law. To access the form, go to http://www.iowabar.org and click on "Public Resources/Forms."
Principles of Cooperation for Attorneys and Physicians
In 1993, the Iowa Medical Society and the Iowa State Bar Association jointly developed and released this document setting forth principles to guide lawyers and doctors in requesting and producing medical records and reports in litigation-related matters. A copy of the Principles is available from IMS by contacting .
The AMA and the American Bar Association developed and released a similar working document in 1998. The AMA-ABA Statement on Interprofessional Relations for Physicians and Attorneys (H-265.997) is available by searching the AMA's web site, or through the AMA Policy Finder.
IMS Physician's Guide to Iowa Law and Medical Records
IMS' Physician's Guide to Iowa Law and Medical Records, first released in 1997, is no longer in print and is now under revision. IMS member physicians will be notified when the new edition of the Guide is available.
HIPAA on Fees for Medical Records - It's Not What Some Attorneys Think It Is (PDF 702KB)
Iowa Medicine (November/December 2004)
Medical Records - Ethical Decisions When Physicians Part Ways (PDF 265KB)
Iowa Medicine (May/June 2002)
Making Copies - What Is A Fair Charge (PDF 222KB)
Iowa Medicine (March/April 1999)