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I read on http://www.chcf.org/~/media/MEDIA%20LIBRARY%20Files/PDF/E/PDF%20ElectronicLabResultsExchangePolicy.pdf :

enter image description here

(CA = California).

which means patients used to not be authorized to access their lab results without an agreement from their provider.

Luckily, this absurd the law changed last year:

While patients can continue to get access to their lab tests from their physicians, under the new rule, labs will be required to provide patients copies, including electronic copies, of their lab test results within 30 days of a request.

However, a Quest Diagnostics lab based in California told me that patients can have access to lab result's after a few weeks through their website, even though it takes less than one week for the lab to get the results and send them to the provider: I was told that Quest Diagnostics was not authorized not to release results to patients earlier:

Due to state laws in California (14 days) and Oregon (7 days) requiring that your physician have an opportunity to discuss your results with you prior to our release of results to you, you may experience additional delays. In all circumstances and in accordance with HIPAA requirements you will receive your results from us no later than 30 days from the date of your request.

I asked Quest Diagnostics to point me to the actual ruling, to no avail yet:

enter image description here

Hence my questions:

  • In the state of California, how long do patients have to wait to get lab results in California?
  • Are labs allowed to charge any amount of money to process result requests from patients?
  • Do you have a link to the actual ruling? – Dale M Jul 16 '15 at 3:46
  • @DaleM Sorry, I don't. – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 16 '15 at 4:36
  • Well. The answer will be in that – Dale M Jul 16 '15 at 6:59
  • @DaleM I am not familiar with the legal literature in the United States. Where should I start looking for? – Franck Dernoncourt Aug 1 '15 at 19:21
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    @DaleM I think the OP knows the answering will be in the ruling, and part of the question is in fact "what ruling?" – Andy Feb 9 '17 at 22:20
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The answer lies in California Health and Safety Code 123148

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a health care professional at whose request a test is performed shall provide or arrange for the provision of the results of a clinical laboratory test to the patient who is the subject of the test if so requested by the patient, in oral or written form. The results shall be disclosed in plain language and in oral or written form, except the results may be disclosed in electronic form if requested by the patient and if deemed most appropriate by the health care professional who requested the test. The telephone shall not be considered an electronic form of disclosing laboratory results subject to the limits on electronic disclosure of test results for the purpose of this section.

(b) (1) Consent of the patient to receive his or her laboratory results by Internet posting or other electronic means shall be obtained in a manner consistent with the requirements of Section 56.10 or 56.11 of the Civil Code. In the event that a health care professional arranges for the provision of test results by Internet posting or other electronic manner, the results shall be disclosed to a patient in a reasonable time period, but only after the results have been reviewed by the health care professional. Access to clinical laboratory test results shall be restricted by the use of a secure personal identification number when the results are disclosed to a patient by Internet posting or other electronic manner.

(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall prohibit direct communication by Internet posting or the use of other electronic means to disclose clinical laboratory test results by a treating health care professional who ordered the test for his or her patient or by a health care professional acting on behalf of, or with the authorization of, the treating health care professional who ordered the test.

(c) When a patient requests access to his or her laboratory test results by Internet posting, the health care professional shall advise the patient of any charges that may be assessed directly to the patient or insurer for the service and that the patient may call the health care professional for a more detailed explanation of the laboratory test results when delivered.

(d) The electronic disclosure of test results under this section shall be in accordance with any applicable federal law governing privacy and security of electronic personal health records. However, any state statute that governs privacy and security of electronic personal health records, shall apply to test results under this section and shall prevail over federal law if federal law permits.

(e) The test results to be reported to the patient pursuant to this section shall be recorded in the patient’s medical record, and shall be reported to the patient within a reasonable time period after the test results are received at the offices of the health care professional who requested the test.

(f) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), unless the patient requests the disclosure, the health care professional deems this disclosure as an appropriate means, and a health care professional has first discussed in person, by telephone, or by any other means of oral communication, the test results with the patient, in compliance with any other applicable laws, none of the following clinical laboratory test results and any other related results shall be disclosed to a patient by Internet posting or other electronic means:

(1) HIV antibody test, unless an HIV test subject is anonymously tested and the test result is posted on a secure Internet Web site and can only be viewed with the use of a secure code that can access only a single set of test results and that is provided to the patient at the time of testing. The test result shall be posted only if there is no link to any information that identifies or refers to the subject of the test and the information required pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 120990 is provided.

(2) Presence of antigens indicating a hepatitis infection.

(3) Abusing the use of drugs.

(4) Test results related to routinely processed tissues, including skin biopsies, Pap smear tests, products of conception, and bone marrow aspirations for morphological evaluation, if they reveal a malignancy.

(g) Patient identifiable test results and health information that have been provided under this section shall not be used for any commercial purpose without the consent of the patient, obtained in a manner consistent with the requirements of Section 56.11 of the Civil Code. In no event shall patient identifiable HIV-related test results and health information disclosed in this section be used in violation of subdivision (f) of Section 120980.

(h) A third party to whom laboratory test results are disclosed pursuant to this section shall be deemed a provider of administrative services, as that term is used in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 56.10 of the Civil Code, and shall be subject to all limitations and penalties applicable to that section.

(i) A patient may not be required to pay a cost, or be charged a fee, for electing to receive his or her laboratory results in a manner other than by Internet posting or other electronic form.

(j) A patient or his or her physician may revoke consent provided under this section at any time and without penalty, except to the extent that action has been taken in reliance on that consent.

  • This addresses the question of under which law the delay is permitted (it appears to be subdivision (f) above), but it doesn't really mention anything about a 14-day requirement. – Michael Seifert Mar 15 '18 at 21:25
  • 1
    Quoting a law with zero explanation of its relevance or how it answers the question of time and payment for results. – Nij Mar 16 '18 at 19:02

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