The general rule for persons seeking DMH medical records of a deceased family member is that a court order must be obtained that requires DMH to release specified records or a court appointed Personal Representative of a deceased person’s estate may sign an authorization to release records of the deceased person whose estate is covered by that court appointment.
NOTE: A court appointed Voluntary Administrator does not have the required authority to access medical records.
DMH cannot offer legal advice on where or how to obtain a court order or Personal Representative court appointment. People seeking legal representation in Massachusetts may wish to consult the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at 866-627-7577 or their local area bar association.
Until such time as a court order is granted or a valid Personal Representative authorization is received, DMH cannot: (1) release any medical records; (2) confirm that any person was ever served by DMH; or (3) confirm that records of any DMH service are still in DMH custody or control.
Please note that although many older DMH medical records are maintained – some of which may be in the custody of the State Archives – the DMH record retention policy only requires that medical records be maintained for twenty (20) years. As such, we cannot assure in advance that obtaining a court order or Personal Representative authorization will result in receipt of the records.
Please advise us if you have further questions or concerns about Department of Mental Health Medical Records by emailing us at email@example.com.