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Wisconsin Medical Records Laws

Patients trust their doctors with some very personal and private information. And while we may think our medical records are safe and secure, we rarely take the time to consider the rules and regulations regarding how our medical information is stored and shared. So what exactly are the Badger State laws that apply to doctors and hospitals sharing our personal health information? This is a quick introduction to medical records laws in Wisconsin.

Medical Records Laws

Most of your personal medical information is protected by a combination of state and federal laws governing the privacy protection of medical records. These statutes dictate whether doctors may share your medical information without your permission. As a general rule, your medical records are confidential. However, most states require medical professionals to report some information, like positive HIV tests, certain communicable diseases, and suspected child abuse to the proper authorities. Aside from those exceptions or a court order, Wisconsin law limits access to medical records to the patient.

Medical Records Laws in Wisconsin

State medical records laws may vary. The following chart highlights the main provisions of Wisconsin medical record laws.

Who Has Access to Records?

Patient may inspect and copy upon submitting statement of informed consent (§146.83); Patient health care records confidential. May be released to certain persons or to persons with the informed consent of the patient or of a person authorized by the patient. (§146.82)

What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?

Physician, registered nurse, chiropractor, psychologist, social worker, marriage and family therapist and professional counselor-patient (§905.04)

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Sexually transmitted diseases (§252.11); tuberculosis (§252.07); abused or neglected children and abused unborn children (§48.981); communicable diseases (§252.05)

Patient Consent and Waiver


Insurance Companies


Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

AIDS/HIV test results must remain confidential except as released per §252.15 (5)

Wisconsin’s statute isn’t the only law that applies to medical records. A federal law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) also requires doctors and their staff to keep your medical records confidential. HIPAA also has exceptions, however:

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

Wisconsin Medical Records Laws: Related Resources

The law regarding medical records can seem a little confusing. You can visit FindLaw’s health care law section for additional information, including what you should do if you learn your medical records have improperly disclosed. You can also contact a Wisconsin health care attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding a health care matter.

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