Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

In Your Corner: Mom can’t get medical records

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OKLA. CITY - No mother should have to bury their own child.

It terrifies Kathryn Emerick to think she might have to do it three times.

Ovarian cancer took daughter, Denise.

Now Denise's twin sister, Diana, and older sister, Pam are battling the same cancer.

“My kids have been my life and to think I might, I will lose two more to this awful disease,” Kathryn says.

Mom, Kathryn, says a cancer gene runs in the family.

Doctors want Denise's medical records so they can come up with the most effective treatment plan for her sisters.

Another doctor treated Denise and his office won't release those records to Denise's mom.

“I don’t understand,” Kathryn says. “The doctor's office keeps saying it's the HIPAA law, but if the HIPAA law prevents family from trying to help family with medical records, I don't understand it.

Here’s why.

Before Denise died she made a list of people who could access her medical records.

Her mom wasn't on that list.

Healthcare attorney, Cori Loomis, says that shouldn't matter now.

“There are different rules in place for when you're talking about the health information of living people and health information for deceased people,” she says.

Loomis says HIPPA and its regulations are complex, but if Denise's mom was involved in her care then she should be able to access her daughter's medical records.

The same goes for the doctors treating Denise's sisters.

“Here the provider could have requested directly from the provider and got the records without going through the mom,” Loomis says.

We tried contacting Denise's doctor.

A worker at his office said the only other person Denise gave permission to is her husband and he hadn't requested any records.

We later found out he's estranged from Denise's family.

We got busy on the phone brokering a deal between family members.

In the end it was Denise's husband who finally retrieved the medical records for the family.

“It's going to be a relief, because maybe, God forbid if it's too late for my girls, I have other family members now that maybe something can come out of it and I know Denise would want that.

The Office of Civil Rights enforces HIPAA and has tons of useful information on its website about the privacy laws.

Request medical records from a physician: Oklahoma Standard Authorization Form

 

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