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Help! There’s an Error in My Medical Record and the Hospital Refuses to Correct It

Our Patient Helpline navigator program is an online, phone and email support service for patients and caregivers. Our professional patient navigators provide direct support and connect clients to local, state and national resources, programs, and services.

Each week, we highlight patient challenges and how we helped.

Client’s Situation:

A client reached out to us via our HELP@PatientsRising.org email. They said that a hospital had incorrectly stated in the client’s medical record that they had undergone a stent placement. When the client noticed this in their record they made a request to fix the medical record. The hospital acknowledged the error but said no to fixing the medical record, citing ‘legal limitations’.


An individual has the right to request corrections to their medical record if they find errors. Fixes however are not “erasing” the mistakes, but rather making a note addressing them. Nothing can be erased from the medical record because it is a legal document. A request for amendment to the record must be acted upon by the holder of the medical record (the “covered entity”) within 60 days. They may accept the request or deny it with an explanation for denial.

The Code of Federal Regulations, §164.526 states that an “INDIVIDUAL HAS THE RIGHT TO HAVE A COVERED ENTITY AMEND PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION OR A RECORD ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL IN A DESIGNATED RECORD SET.” This falls under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Patient Helpline Navigator’s Response:

Our response to the client included two resources we have published in the past:

These articles cover aspects of HIPAA protections as well as how to make the formal request for changes.

We further explained that, if a request is ignored or denied without explanation, one may file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services. We provided the link where one may go to file such a complaint –  https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/filing-a-complaint/index.html.

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