Request public information and records from a health care facility

Learn how to request public information from the Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification.

Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification

The Details of Request public information and records from a health care facility

What you need for Request public information and records from a health care facility

In order to assist in the processing of your request, we recommend that you submit a completed Public Information Request Form. Please be specific about facility name, location, and dates.

For documents that contain personal or medical information, you must also submit a release form.

Release Forms

Privacy laws restrict both the Department's and the provider's release of patient specific information to those legally entitled to access that information.

To get information regarding a specific patient, you must submit a completed Public Information Authorization Form with your request.

Generally speaking, patient specific information may only be released to:

  • The resident or patient themselves
  • The parents of a minor child
  • The activated health care agent or legal guardian with health care decision making authority while the patient or resident is alive
    • Please note: access to information based on a health care proxy or guardianship ends on the death of the patient
  • The executor or administrator of a deceased patient's estate
  • Individuals such as attorneys who have been authorized to receive the information by one of the above
  • Individuals with court authorization to receive health care or personal information

If the Department's review included compliance with Medicare or Medicaid regulations, the Department may not be able to respond directly to you, and may be required to forward your request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Copies of medical records from a hospital, nursing home or rest home, clinic, or hospice agency

You can make your request directly to the provider. Providers may require you to complete a release form to document your authorization. You may also need to pay a reasonable fee for copies of your records.

Providers may dispose of outdated records after the required retention period has passed. For more information, see the Department's Circular Letter: DHCQ 09-07-515 - Notification of Destruction of Medical Records.

Fees for Request public information and records from a health care facility

In addition to the fees below, we offer a pro-rated fee for:

  • Performing a search for requested records, or
  • Segregating exempt information from non-exempt information which is contained in a requested record

This fee is based on the hourly rate of the lowest-paid employee capable of performing the task.

Fees over $100.00 will need pre-payment before release of information.

Name Fee Unit
Photocopies of public records $0.20 per page
Computer printouts of public records $0.50 per page
Creation of electronic reports of public records $50 per hour

How to request Request public information and records from a health care facility

  1. Download and complete the Public Information Request Form. Please be specific about facility name, location, and dates.
    • For documents that contain personal or medical information, you must also submit a Release Form with your request
  2. Mail your completed request and release form, if applicable, to:

    Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification
    99 Chauncy St.
    11th Floor
    Boston, MA 02111
    Attn: Public Records
  1. Download and complete the Public Information Request Form. Please be specific about facility name, location, and dates.
    • For documents that contain personal or medical information, you must also submit a Release Form with your request
  2. Fax your completed request and release form, if applicable, to (617) 753-8233

More info about Request public information and records from a health care facility

The Public Information Unit is not able to provide guidance or advice to callers, explain the requirements in existing regulations, or recommend a particular facility or provider.

Media Requests

The Department's press office handles all media requests. Please contact the press office at (617) 624-5006.

Please note: the Department is not able to provide information on a specific patient, including confirmation about:

  • Whether a person is a patient of a facility
  • The source of a complaint
  • A complaint or incident currently under investigation

How long we keep records

The Department has established a record retention schedule in compliance with state law. Generally speaking, we keep records for 6 years. Due to space limitations, the Division only retains the most current 2-3 years of its records on-site. Older records are stored at the State Archives, and may need more time for retrieval. More information on state law about public records can be found at the Public Records Division.

Contact for Request public information and records from a health care facility

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