In Tennessee, you do not have the right to get a deceased person’s medical records just because you are the spouse. You do have the right to get a deceased person’s medical records from a Tennessee health care provider if you are the personal representative (such as the executor or administrator) of the deceased person's estate. If you have not yet received such an appointment by the Court, that is the first step. If you have already been appointed Executor or Administrator of your husband's estate. Then the information below may be helpful to you.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides a procedure patients may follow if they believe their rights have been violated under HIPAA laws. It includes filing a formal complaint through an online process.
If the violation is heinous enough, the HHS, or even the Department of Justice, may invoke a penalty to the violating entity, ranging from a $25,000 fine to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
You have the right to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if you believe the health care provider has violated your right to see, get a copy of, or amend the medical record. You can also file a complaint with the state agency that regulates the health care provider. You also have the right to sue the hospital in state court if it violates Tennessee laws that give you the right to get a copy of the medical record. You might have the right under state law to sue a doctor or other health care practitioner for such violations.
Here is a link to more information: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/.
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