United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

FAQ: Medical Records

Question: Where can I get a copy of my medical records? How private are my medical records?

The National Library of Medicine does not keep hospital or physician medical records.

For information on privacy and accessing your medical records, go to the MedlinePlus topic page on Personal Medical Records at

Before April 14, 2003, hospital records were the property of the hospital. Contact the hospital directly for your records. If the hospital no longer exists, check with that state’s Department of Health for help.

Federal law now requires health care providers to give you access to your medical records. The new rule is part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). For more information, go to

Notices from health providers and plans should include how to get copies of your medical records. Laws usually allow health care facilities to charge a "reasonable" fee for copying records.

To learn about patient access to health information and privacy laws, contact your state’s Department of Health.

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Last reviewed: 25 August 2008
Last updated: 25 August 2008
First published: 19 September 2005
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