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Dear Advocate:
Access to Records

Dear Advocate,

My father is in a nursing facility. They recently told me his condition worsened, so I asked to see his medical records. Even though I have his power of attorney for healthcare, they won’t let me see his records. What do I do?

Frustrated in Fresno

Dear Frustrated,

If the facility accepts Medicare and/or Medi-Cal, upon oral or written request, it must let you see all records pertaining to your father within 24 hours, and to have copies of them within two days, at a cost no greater than the community standard for photocopies.

If the facility does not accept Medicare nor Medi-Cal, upon written request, it must let you see any records pertaining to your father’s healthcare within five days, and let you have copies of them within 15 days, at a cost no greater than $.25/page and reasonable clerical costs.

Both the resident and his/her representative (i.e., next of kin, guardian, conservator, or power of attorney) have these rights. If the facility persists in withholding the records, file a complaint with your district Department of Health Services, Licensing & Certification Division.