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Michigan Medical Records Laws

When we place our health in our doctor’s hands, we trust that our medical information will remain private and confidential. But is this always the case? What laws determine whether your doctor can reveal your medical history to a third party? Here is a brief summary of medical records laws in Michigan.

General Medical Records Laws

Most state laws dictate that a patient's medical records are considered private and only available to the proper medical professionals. As a general rule, doctors may not share your medical information without your permission, with some exceptions. For example, doctors must report a patient with a serious communicable disease (such as the H1N1 "bird flu") to the appropriate authorities in order to control the spread of the disease. Michigan medical record laws reaffirm the physician-patient privilege to accessing medical records, while also granting the state Dept. of Health access when necessary.

Medical Records Laws in Michigan

Michigan's medical record laws are highlighted in the box below.

Who Has Access to Records?

Any review entity (331.531); Department of Health shall protect privileged communications and individual's expectation of privacy with regard to Department's activities (§333.2611)

What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?

Physician-patient (§600.2157)

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Serious communicable diseases (§333.5117)

Patient Consent and Waiver


Insurance Companies


Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

All reports of HIV infection and AIDS are confidential; release subject to §333.5131

Along with Michigan law, federal regulations also protect patient medical records under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While HIPAA normally prohibits doctors and their staff from disclosing your medical records, there are three exceptions to this rule:

  • In case of emergency treatment for someone incapacitated, doctors can share medical information with the person making medical decisions for you;
  • In a court case involving an accident or worker’s compensation and you  introduce your health or injuries, doctors may reveal your medical history; or
  • In case of births, deaths, communicable diseases, and other public health concerns, the government requires specific reporting.

Michigan Medical Records Laws: Related Resources

The intersection of health care and the law can be difficult to navigate. You can contact a Michigan health care attorney if you would like to schedule a legal consultation regarding your health care case. If you would like more general information on this topic, including what you should do if you learn your medical records have improperly disclosed, you can also visit FindLaw’s health care law section.

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