Loved Ones Can Now Obtain Medical Records of a Deceased Friend or Relative

Gavel_iStock_000015518511XSmall1Sometimes, the simplest things make all the difference. At a time of year when we traditionally celebrate family by gathering together, often coming from far and wide, we have another things for which to be thankful; SB 1694, which was signed by Governor Quinn today.

Previously, if a loved one wanted to obtain medical records of someone who had died, they had to open an estate in Probate Court, a process that is often time consuming, costly, and bewildering.

Now, with the effective retroactive date of October 1, 2011 of this law signed today, an "authorized relative" may obtain medical records of a deceased person provided they execute an authorization as set forth in the law (a Public Act Number has yet to be assigned to this).

or letters of office. All it takes is a properly executed form.

This matters to you because it means that if you suspect that your relative died as a result of medical negligence, or some other reason that you wish to have investigated, you can now get these medical records quickly and inexpensively.

There are obviously many other purposes for which this law could be utilized but the significance is that it will allow relatives to get answers quicker than before.

As always, the key to everything is to hope that we never have to use this provision and that nothing bad ever happens, but it certainly should enable much easier access to medical records of recently deceased relatives.

Obviously, we want to focus on the familial joys of the Thanksgiving Holiday rather than the unspoken dark clouds alluded to above. But they may be there and it could be you who has to be the family "point person" to find out answers. This new law will make your job much easier and reassure other family members.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Categories: General