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West Virginia Medical Records Laws

In order to get the best medical care from our doctors, they have to be privy to our complete medical history. And that can include some very private information. While it can be easier if hospitals and doctors have complete access to our medical records, that convenience also comes with cause for concern.

So what laws does the Mountain State have to protect our personal health information and ensure that medical professionals will keep our records safe and secure? Here is a quick introduction to medical records laws in West Virginia.

Medical Records Laws

State medical records laws determine when, how, and with whom doctors may share your medical information, and what kind of permission they must get before doing so. The general privacy protection of medical records dictates that your medical records are confidential, and West Virginia law limits access to medical records to the patient absent written consent. There are some scenarios, however, that require mandatory reporting of health information by doctors, like injuries from suspected child abuse, gunshot wounds, and positive tests of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Medical Records Laws in West Virginia

The details of West Virginia’s medical records statutes are listed below.

Code Section

West Virginia Code 16-29-1, et seq.: Health Care Records

Who Has Access to Records?

Patient through written request;

Summary provided in case of psychiatric or psychological treatment

What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?


Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Sexually transmitted diseases

West Virginia Code 16-4-6: Reports by Physicians;

Suspected child abuse

West Virginia Code 49-6A-2: Persons Mandated to Report Suspected Abuse and Neglect;

Gunshot and other wounds; burns

West Virginia Code 61-2-27: Required Reporting of Gunshot and Other Wounds

Patient Consent and Waiver


Insurance Companies


Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

Disclosure of identity of person tested for HIV in limited circumstances

West Virginia Code 16-3C-3: Confidentiality of Records

In addition to state law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal statute that requires doctors and other medical staff to keep medical records confidential unless:

  • You need emergency treatment;
  • You introduce your health or injuries in a court case; or
  • The government requires specific reporting (mostly for births, deaths, and communicable diseases).

Related Resources for Medical Records Laws in West Virginia

Medical records laws can be confusing. FindLaw’s section on Health Care can provide you with additional articles and information on this topic, including what you should do if you learn your medical records have improperly disclosed. You can also consult with a West Virginia health care attorney in your area if you would like legal help regarding a health care matter.

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