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Keeping medical records ready allows patients to be advocates

When it comes to personal medical records, the main thing most people don’t know is that all patients are entitled to have them, attorney Annamarie Bondi-Stoddard said. However, because many people are unaware, most patients don’t know to ask, said Bondi-Stoddard, managing partner of New York-based Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, who has experience representing plaintiffs in medical negligence cases. Meanwhile, experts say having medical records on file allows patients to be an advocate for their own health in several ways. The records not only allow patients to have documents outlining procedures, diagnoses and drugs they’ve had, but sharing records can foster better communication when patients seek a second opinion or care from a specialist. And they may reduce the chances of being prescribed medications that might interfere with each other, or avoid being given duplicate tests or procedures that may not be covered by insurance.

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