I understand that as a patient, I have the right under HIPAA to request a personal copy of my medical records at a reasonable per-page cost.

I've received a letter from my physician's office stating that they will not transfer my records to my physician (who has changed practices) because they had a non-compete contract with her.

Typically here (New York state) doctor-to-doctor transfers have not cost me a penny. If I request the records be sent to me, they'll undoubtedly charge me the HIPAA direct-to-patient cost. Do HIPAA's portability requirements also apply to these doctor-to-doctor transfers, or am I stuck with requesting they be sent to me?

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    Possible duplicate of Does HIPAA require a secondary physician to share results with your primary? Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 2:16
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    @NateEldredge Pfft, I asked first! (More seriously, thank you!) I'm not convinced that answer covers this situation, though. The HIPAA Privacy Rule isn't what's important here - the transfer would be with my explicit permission and knowledge.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 2:23
  • The posted answer on that question seems to state pretty explicitly that there is no requirement for the doctor to send the records to the other doctor, which would seem to answer your question. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 2:25
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    @NateEldredge That conclusion is reached via an answer to the question "without the patient’s authorization" though. In my case, it's entirely with authorization.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 2:35
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    I see now. In fact, it appears there is a requirement, see my answer below. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 2:48

1 Answer 1


You can request that the records be sent directly to the other doctor, and they have to do it.

45 CFR 164.524 (c)(3)(ii):

If an individual's request for access directs the covered entity to transmit the copy of protected health information directly to another person designated by the individual, the covered entity must provide the copy to the person designated by the individual. The individual's request must be in writing, signed by the individual, and clearly identify the designated person and where to send the copy of protected health information.

However, they can charge you the same fee as they would to send the records to you (unless of course there is a state law that forbids it). Even if they normally waive this fee when sending directly to another doctor, this may just be a courtesy that they don't necessarily have to provide in all cases.

See http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/2036/can-an-individual-through-the-hipaa-right/index.html for further elaboration and interpretation.

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    Just rediscovered this answer and wanted to provide an update: The state department of health stepped in after a few months (I quoted your link!) and forced the doctor to comply with the transfer.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 22:05

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