UHS Medical Records Office
Health Information Management Department
333 East Campus Mall
Every time a clinician or other UHS medical or mental health care staffer has an encounter with you — in an appointment, on the phone, or through secure messaging — that information is documented in your medical records, also called your health record. In the past, most medical records were paper files; today, UHS, like many other health care providers, maintains an Electronic Health Record (EHR).
Your health record is a collection of those documentations. Common documentation found in your health records includes:
- your immunization and health history form (completed in MyUHS)
- any appointment or treatment you have had at UHS
- lab reports
- radiology reports (“x-rays”)
- secure messages between you and any UHS clinician
- copies of referrals you may have received
- consult reports (a summary of your visit with the clinician you were referred to)
- any time your health information was released
- any documents received from other clinics (i.e., previous medical records)
These records are maintained by the staff of the Health Information Management (HIM) Department, who are trained to ensure that these files are complete, confidential, and accessible to you. The privacy and confidentiality of your records is protected by law.
Obtaining Copies of Your Records
Although your health records is the physical property of UHS (or the facility that compiled them), you may submit an Authorization for Release of Health Records [pdf] request to access or obtain a copy of your records. UHS has a 10-year record retention policy. Records will be destroyed 10 years after your date of last enrollment or last activity at UHS.
There is no cost to receive a copy of your health records if you are sending or bringing the records to another health care facility, if you are taking a copy for your personal records, or if you need them for school-related purposes.
When releasing records to attorneys or insurance companies, UHS will bill for copies in accordance with Wisconsin Laws HRS 117.06 and 146.83. These bills go to the insurer or law firm, not the student.
To pick up the medical records yourself, you need to show proper identification (e.g., valid UW student ID or driver's license). Otherwise, the records will be mailed.
To release information from your records regarding alcohol or other drug assessments/treatments, HIV/AIDS testing or treatment, or counseling services, special permission is required. Please contact the UHS Medical Records office at 608-262-1676 for more information.
Turn Around Time for Record Requests
The average turn around time for all continuity of care health care records is five business days or sooner if necessary. Same day urgent requests are honored.
The average turn around time for mental health summary of care records is 10 to fourteen business days. This includes records to self or other third parties.
Protecting Your Privacy
The confidentiality, privacy, and security of your medical records are the responsibility of the health care facility that owns them, but there are ways you can help to keep your records confidential.
- Be aware of what health information is being collected about you.
- Be aware of who is collecting that information.
- Find out who is in charge of your medical records.
- Ask how the health care facility keeps your records confidential.
- Read the fine print before you authorize to release your health information. Make sure the authorization specifies who is to receive your information and the purpose of its use.
Keeping Your Own Records
It is a good idea to start your own medical records at home so that you can access your health information whenever you need it. Your own records can be as simple as filing all of the medical documents and data you receive in a folder. You probably don’t need to keep copies of every documented communication with a clinician, as UHS does. If you visit a hospital, though, you should get copies of any significant tests done there.
Other documents that belong in your own medical records include:
- personal identification
- emergency contact(s)
- health insurance information
- medication (and any other) allergies
- contact information for your primary care clinician, dentist, optometrist, and pharmacist
- current medications
- immunization dates
- important test results (e.g., x-rays, MRI, CT)
- dental information
- eye prescription
- organ donor authorization
- documentation of important events in your medical history