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Q: Patient Access to Lab Results in MN ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Patient Access to Lab Results in MN
Category: Health
Asked by: kalatraza-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 11 Oct 2006 17:19 PDT
Expires: 10 Nov 2006 16:19 PST
Question ID: 772790
Do patients have the right to access their medical lab testing results
directly from the lab in the state of MN?  If so, can you provide
references that prove this point?

(I have one lab that says yes.  Another that says no, citing that a
clinical lab isn't a "provider" under MN law and that a patient is not
an "authorized" person according to CLIA.)
Subject: Re: Patient Access to Lab Results in MN
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 13 Oct 2006 12:53 PDT
Hello Kalatraza,

    According to CLIA, the ordering physician is the only ?authorized
person? to receive lab results. As usual, there are exceptions. The
physician can make a request that a patient be allowed to receive
results directly from the performing lab. Each lab will have its own
requirements as to how the physician can give permission; an attached
signed note, sent along with the specimen and test requisition, a
phone call where the physician can provide the sample requisition
number, or a faxed note requesting you be given the results.

   You DO have the right to have a copy of your lab results, and your
doctor will give you a copy. The reason you must obtain the results
from a physician actually makes good sense. Most lay people are not
familiar with laboratory lingo. This is why its best to have your
doctor give you a copy; s/he has the opportunity to explain the values
to you. ?Normal? lab results vary person to person, depending on their
medical history. A value that might be considered too high for most
people, might be where your doctor wants your results, according to
your condition.

    Some patients, particularly leukemia/cancer patients, or patients
on coumadin (an anti-coagulant) like to keep close tabs on their
results. These patients have been educated in the meaning of the
results, and the ordering physician gives the performing lab
permission to give the values directly to the patient.

   As far as Minnesota?s regulations, according to this George
Washington University site, Minnesota follows CLIA guidelines for
release of lab results. ?Article 16. C.L.I.A. Requirements. All
laboratory testing sites providing services under this contract must
comply with the C.L.I.A. requirements in 42 C.F.R. Part 493." 
Minnesota Contract, page 96.?

   Here is the most recently amended CLIA regulation, in case you care
to read it yopurself:

Page 5 of this Word document describes the regulation:
   ?Regulations promulgated under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement
Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) require that clinical laboratories disclose
test results only to ?authorized persons? (individuals authorized
under State law to order tests or receive test results, or both), and,
if applicable, the individual responsible for using the test results
and the laboratory that initially requested the test.  Most states
require that clinical laboratories disclose test results only to the
ordering physician or his designee.  If a state law does not define
the term, CLIA defines ?authorized person? as the person who orders
the test. As a result, despite generally permissive provisions in the
HIPAA Privacy Rule, most state laws prohibit clinical laboratories
from disclosing test results to anyone other than the ordering
physician or his designee.?

This is the link to the HTML version, in case you don?t have MS Word installed.

Avera?s Lab policy:
   ?Testing results will only be released to authorized individuals.
Patient results will automatically be reported to the ordering
physician or authorized individual via the reporting mechanism
established with the originating client facility. If patient results
need to be reported to a secondary referring physician and/or
facility, a written order must be received indicating where results
are to be reported. Patient results will not be released to a
secondary referring physician or facility without prior authorization
by the primary ordering physician and/or facility.

Results will only be released to a patient when a written order to
release information is on file from the ordering physician or
authorized individual. Patients may also request release of their
testing results by completing the appropriate "Medical Release

   ?Because the Laboratory has a Certificate of Compliance pursuant to
the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988, 42 U.S.C. 263a
(CLIA), the Laboratory cannot release the results of its testing to
anyone other than the health care institution or provider that
requested the testing and the Department?s programs that perform
public health activities. Therefore, if you wish to obtain your test
results, you must ask for them from the health care institution or
provider that took the sample that was tested.?

   This article might give you some insight: US News and World Report
?? you could end up with useless tests, incomprehensible results (do
you know whether it's good or bad that your HBG is 15.5?), and
literally taking your life in your own hands.?

I hope this has helped you out! If any part of this answer is unclear,
please ask for an Answer Clarification, and allow me to respond,
before you rate.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
laboratory releases lab results + only physician
Minnesota  + CLIA + authorized person + lab results
CLIA regulations
Subject: Re: Patient Access to Lab Results in MN
From: daniel2d-ga on 12 Oct 2006 23:18 PDT
If the point is that you want a copy of the results - you can get them
from the doctor that ordered the tests.  Plus, use the lab that will
give you the results.

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