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Illinois Medical Records Laws

We’ve always shared sensitive information regarding our health and medical history with our doctors, and trusted that neither they nor their medical staff will share that information without our consent. But are there laws that ensure they won’t? This is a quick summary of medical records laws in Illinois.

General Medical Records Laws

Medical records are considered confidential documents, which means they may only be viewed by those who need to know (such as nurses, doctors, and health care administrators) or who have been given consent. Normally, doctors may not share your medical information without your permission. State medical records laws grant access privileges to a patient's primary physician and/or psychologist, but federal laws have a major role in the protection of patients' information.

Medical Records Laws in Illinois

Learn about Illinois medical records laws in the following table.

Who Has Access to Records?

Medical records kept strictly confidential (735§5/8-2101)

What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?

Physician and psychologist (735§5/8-802)

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Child abuse (325 ILCS 5/4); sexually transmissible diseases (410 ILCS §325/4)

Patient Consent and Waiver

Right to privacy and confidentiality in health care may be waived in writing by patient or patient's physician (410§50/3)

Insurance Companies


Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

AIDS test information must be kept confidential (410 ILCS 305/1, et seq.) No disclosure of AIDS test information without consent, court order or as listed in 410 ILCS 305/9

Illinois law works in tandem with federal regulations regarding medical records, under the federal law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA requires doctors and their staff to keep your medical records strictly confidential. There are three exceptions to this rule:

  • If you need emergency treatment and are incapacitated, doctors can share medical information with the person making medical decisions for you;
  • If you have a court case involving an accident or worker’s compensation and you  introduce your health or injuries, doctors may reveal your medical history; or
  • If the government requires specific reporting (mostly for births, deaths, and communicable diseases, doctors must provide this information for public health reasons.

Illinois Medical Records Laws: Related Resources

The health care system itself can be tough to navigate, never mind the legal aspects of the doctor-patient relationship. If you would like to a legal consultation regarding your health care case, you can contact an Illinois health care attorney in your area. You can also visit FindLaw’s health care law section if you would like more introductory information, including what you should do if you learn your medical records have improperly disclosed.

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