Medical Records FAQ
To ensure your medical records are kept private and secure in accordance with federal and state regulations, Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa has a team of trained professionals in our Health Information Management (HIM) Department. It’s their job to safeguard and manage your patient information.
Answers to some of the HIM’s most frequently asked questions are listed below. If you have additional questions, please contact Health Information Management at 641-428-7274 during normal business hours.
Normal Business Hours
- Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Closed Weekends and Holidays
- Q. How Can I Obtain A Copy Of My Medical Record?
A. You can download the "Authorization to Release/Obtain Confidential Information" form or you may write a letter authorizing the HIM Department to release a copy of your medical record. Both the authorization form/letter must state your name, date of birth, social security number, date of service, name of hospital where services were performed, the person/organization to receive the information, along with the address where the information is to be sent. The authorization form/letter must be signed and dated by the patient or the patient’s guardian/legal representative.
- Q. Where Do I Send The Authorization Form/Letter To Release A Copy Of My Medical Record?
A. Mail the authorization form/letter to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa at:
Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa
%Health Information Management Department
1000 4th Street, SW
Mason City, IA 50401
- Q. Is There A Cost To Obtain A Copy Of My Medical Record?
A. Yes, there is a charge based on the number of pages reproduced and the source of the data, such as computer, microfiche or paper. If applicable, a retrieval and postage fee will be applied. Arrangements may be made for you to pick up your medical record copies by calling the HIM Department at 641-428-7274.
Q. I Am Going To Another Healthcare Provider And Would Like My Records Sent To This Physician. What Do I Need To Do?
A. You will need to submit a written authorization form/letter to have your medical record copies mailed or faxed to that provider. You will need to include the name, address and/or fax number of the healthcare provider to whom you’d like the record sent. There is no charge for copies of your medical record for continuity of care.
- Q. How Soon Can I Expect The Request To Release My Medical Record To Be Completed?
A. Depending on the location of your medical record, you can expect a 7-10 day turnaround time for your request to be competed. We realize there are circumstances when you may need your medical record more urgently. If this is your situation, please call the HIM Department to discuss your needs.
- Q. Am I Able To Get A Copy Of A Family Member’s Medical Record?
A. Only the patient may release his/her record(s). However, if you have Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA) or are the executor of the patient’s estate, you must submit your authorization form/letter along with a copy of the legal document giving you POA or executor rights.
- Q. I Would Like To Know My Blood Type. Is This Information In My Medical Record?
A. Blood typing is not routinely performed. If blood typing was done, the HIM Department requires a signed authorization form/letter from the patient and a copy of the results will be sent to you. There will be a charge for reproducing and mailing this document.
- Q. I Was Born At Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa. How Can I Obtain My Birth Certificate?
A. You will need to request your birth certificate from the Cerro Gordo County Recorder’s Office. Their phone number is 641-421-3056. You may also access their website at http://www.co.cerro-gordo.ia.us/.
- Q. How Long Do You Keep A Medical Record?
A. Medical records are maintained according to Iowa Statute for various periods of time. You will be contacted if your medical record request cannot be fulfilled because the retention period has expired.
- Q. Am I Able To View My Medical Record?
A. Yes, you are able to view your medical record. There is no charge for viewing your record. Here’s how:
- Provide a written, signed and dated authorization form/letter.
- Provide photo identification.
- Contact Health Information Management at 641-428-7274 to schedule an appointment to view your record.
Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa, Mercy Family Clinics, Hospice of North Iowa and Mercy Home Care are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO), a national organization of health care professionals, which helps hospitals voluntarily monitor and improve their care. JCAHO accreditation means that Mercy has met the highest national standards. Some departments of the medical center are accredited by additional organizations, which serve a similar purpose in those specific areas.