Moving to a new city, country, or continent means that your entire life will change. You will start a new job, meet new friends, go to a new school, gym, etc. What does not change, however, is your medical history. When moving, and especially when moving long-distance, it is important that you deal with the transfer of your medical records. Your medical records are a private thing and as soon as you find a new physician you should take action and transfer them safely. We will now go through all the steps of the procedure so that you don`t have to worry about anything.
Why should you transfer your medical records when moving?
Your medical records contain absolutely everything related to your health. Your vaccine records, test results, treatment plans, allergies, specific conditions are all mentioned in the medical records. When you move to a different place, it is important that your new doctor has this information so that they know how to treat you right. These records are so private that you can`t have the originals. Instead, you can get a hard copy. And this is great because in this way your medical records will never get in the wrong hands.
Choose a new medical provider
It is important that you choose a new medical provider before you relocate. If you have friends or family members in the place you are moving to, ask them for a recommendation. On the other hand, if you don`t know anyone, there is no need to worry. A simple google search for medical provider reviews will provide you with plenty of results. Make an informed decision about your new medical provider and stick to it.
Get contact information from your new medical provider
Once you choose them, you should consult them about which medical records do they need, as they might not ask you for your entire medical history. Perhaps they will only ask about your current medical condition. Whatever it is that they need, you will find out and ask your former physician to give the records to you. It is also important to obtain the contact information and address to which the medical records will arrive at. It may be a physical address, and an e-mail address as well.
Does the transfer of medical records cost?
Generally, transferring medical records will not cost you a thing. However, in reality, you may be charged a certain fee. If your medical records are in an e-form, that sending them to your new practitioner will not induce any fees. On the other hand, some medical providers only have your medical records on paper, so they might charge you for copying them. Again, it all depends on your medical provider, as it is their choice to charge you or not.
How long does it take to transfer your medical records?
Transferring your medical records does not have to take up much time. HIPPA, for example, obligates 30 days for your old provider to transfer the records to your new provider. But, in reality, this can take as little as two days. In any case, we highly recommend that you ask for the transfer of your medical records as soon as you find a new practitioner. This is the best way to ensure that all the information will be processed safely. If you are not sure whether the transfer happened, call your old practitioner, and be persistent until the documents are transferred.
Don`t wait until you move to ask for your medical records
As we already mentioned, your medical records are safely kept by your medical provider. It is kept so safe, that even you can`t have the original documents. So, when you move to a new city and want to transfer your medical records, this can be a little bit tricky. Due to confidential reasons, it is always best to ask for these documents in person, rather than over the phone. This is why you should not wait until you move to request these documents.
Do you have to fill up a form for transferring your medical records?
Yes, you need to fill up a form for the transfer of your medical records. This request form is quite simple. It needs to contain your information, such as your name, social security number, birthday, contact information, exact documents you need to transfer. It should also contain the contact information of your new medical provider. Once you submit a form and several days have passed, you should contact your new physician to check whether they have received the medical records in question.
How to transfer your medical records if you haven`t chosen a new medical provider?
If you haven`t chosen a new doctor yet, and you are about to make the relocation, you will bring your medical records with you. You can have access to the electronic version of your documents, and you can also make a hard copy of them. In any case, you should be extremely careful not to damage, lose, or have these documents stolen.
The electronic version of your medical records
As far as the electronic version is in question, we suggest that you change the password on your electronic device before and after the relocation. Also, back up all the information on some cloud, so that you can never lose the documents.
The hard copy version of your medical records
When it comes to hard copies of your medical records, you should obtain a plastic bag with a Ziplock and place the items in there. You can basically use any waterproof file container for these purposes. We also highly suggest that you keep these files within your hand reach. You can place them inside your essentials bag that you will keep near you at all times. So, when you are traveling by car, and need to make an all-night break, take these documents to a hotel with you. It is better to be safe than sorry, right? Good luck!