DISCLAIMER: This correspondence and discussion of this issue should not be construed as legal advice or representation by NAM or the TMA. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you or any NAM or TMA employee. This unwarranted material is provided only for informational purposes. Should you require legal advice or representation, you should contact your personal attorney.
- How do I obtain a copy of my childhood immunization (shot) records?
Shot records are physician/clinic specific. In other words, the physician or practice who administered the vaccines to you as a child is responsible for retaining and releasing the records to you. The physician or practice is only responsible for retaining and releasing the shots that you received at their facility. If you had child immunizations administered at various clinics/doctors then, in certain instances, you may have to contact each of them to obtain all of your childhood shot records. The Metro Nashville Health Department will only have your immunization records on file if they administered them to you as a child. Neither the Health Department nor Metro Nashville Public Schools keep vast archives of childhood immunizations records, as many people are led to believe. Unlike most medical records that have a ten year retention time, childhood immunizations are to be retained / maintained indefinitely by the physician and/or the practice that administered the vaccines.
- How do I obtain a copy of my medical records from a physician who is no longer actively practicing?
If the practice the physician was affiliated with is still operating, you should contact their office. Even though the doctor is no longer a member of their group, your records should still be on file with the facility. If the physician was in solo practice and another physician assumed his or her patient base when he or she retired or quit practice, then the physician who assumed the practice should have your medical records on file. If no one took over the practice, then the retiring physician should have the medical records stored / archived for a period of ten years (with exceptions – see the next question) after treatment. You may contact the physician directly, in writing. Please provide him or her with your name and the approximate timeframe you were under his or her care/supervision.
- How long is a physician’s practice obligated to retain copies of my medical records?
The Board of Medical Examiners (BME) stipulates a ten year retention of medical records from the physician’s or his supervisees’ last professional contact with the patient. There are certain exceptions that include:
- Immunization records shall be retained indefinitely.
- Medical records for incompetent patients shall be retained indefinitely.
- Mammography records shall be retained for at least ten (10) years.
- X-rays and radiographs shall be retained for at least four (4) years after which if there exist separate interpretive records thereof they may be destroyed.
- Medical records of minors shall be retained for a period of one (1) year after majority by minor or ten (10) years after the date from physician’s or his supervisees’ last professional contact with the patient whichever is longer.
- Notwithstanding the foregoing, no medical record involving services that are currently under dispute shall be destroyed until the dispute is resolved.
- I am delinquent in payment to my physician’s office. Can he/she withhold copies of my medical records until my account is current?
Physicians may not hold records “hostage” as a way of collecting treatment fees. The Board of Medical Examiners (BME) may suspend or revoke the licenses of physicians who violate this law or who refuse to release records for treatment fee collection purposes.
- Once I request a release of my medical records, how long does the physician’s office have to provide them to me?
T.C.A. 63-2-101 requires physicians to furnish to a patient or a patient’s authorized representative a copy or summary of the patient’s medical record within ten (10) working days of a written request by the patient or such representative. Failure to comply with this law may result in disciplinary actions from the Board of Medical Examiners (BME).
- Is a physician allowed to charge me for the release of my medical records – if so, how much?
For other than records involving workers’ compensation cases, T.C.A. 63-2-102 requires the party requesting the patient’s medical records to be responsible for the costs of copying and mailing such records. Reasonable costs shall not exceed twenty dollars ($20.00) for medical records five (5) pages or less in length and fifty cents ($.50) per page for each page copied after the first five (5) pages and the actual cost of mailing.
- Where / to who may I report a physician for what I feel is unethical or inappropriate business practice or medical conduct? Will the Nashville Academy accept a complaint on a physician and if so, how does your grievance process work?
Yes – However the physician must be a member, in good standing of both the Nashville Academy of Medicine and the Tennessee Medical Association. We request that a letter outlining the grievance be sent to the Society. Once the complaint is received, we will then present it to our Grievance Committee for review. After reviewing the information, it will make a determination as to whether the complaint is valid. If it is found to be justifiable, they will attempt to mediate and resolve the dispute.
- I would like to file a complaint against a hospital. Does the Nashville Academy of Medicine handle such grievances?
No – Complaints against a hospital or other healthcare facility should be directed to the State Department of Health, Division of Health Care Facilities at 1-800-778-4504.
- I would like to find out additional information about a physician I am currently or potentially going to see. How can I determine where the physician went to medical school, did his/her internship or residency if he/she is board certified, etc?
This information can be obtained through the State Board of Medical Examiners Office for Licensing Health Care Professionals online at https://apps.health.tn.gov/Licensure/. Type in the last name of the physician, the state code (TN) from the dropdown box and select “medical doctor”, or “osteopathic physician” as the case may be, from the “profession” category.
- I am seeking pro bono healthcare for myself or a family member who does not have medical insurance. Are there agencies in Davidson County (the metro Nashville area) that provide these services?
Please visit our page about Project Access Nashville to learn about our partnership with the Safety Net Consortium of Middle Tennessee.
- I am attempting to obtain a copy of a birth certificate for an individual born in Davidson County? How do I go about doing this?
Individuals born in Davidson County can get birth certificates at the Vital Records Division or mail an application to the Lentz Public Health Center. Certificates are issued for births after 1950. Birth certificates are available in a short and long form. Long forms provide more information and are an actual copy of the original certificate. This form is available for births that occurred in Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee after January 1, 1966. The cost for a long or short form birth certificate is $15 for the first copy and $15 for each additional copy. In most cases, long forms are available within thirty days following birth. Call (615) 340-5611 or click here for more information about birth certificates.
People born elsewhere in Tennessee may obtain their short form birth certificate at the Davidson County Clerk’s Office. Click here for more information.
- Approximately how many physicians are there in Nashville?
There are approximately 3,350 individuals with a license to practice medicine in Davidson County.