Ohio Supreme Court rules in Aultman medical records case

From The Beacon Journal The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that all documents Aultman Hospital generated in the care of a patient qualify as a medical record, a decision attorneys say will have statewide ramifications in the release of such information.

The state's high court issued the ruling Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by the daughter of a patient treated at the Canton hospital before he died. The case had been decided in Stark County Common Pleas Court before the 5th District Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling. In a 5-2 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed the appeals decision that had limited the information to what was maintained by Aultman's medical records department.

A majority of the justices said the definition of a medical record is not limited to the information maintained by a hospital or other healthcare provider's medical records department. The ruling also said the physical location of where the data is stored does not determine if the information qualifies as a medical record.

The ruling and related state law pertains to medical records sought by a patient or his or her legal representative. The case is being sent back to the Stark County trial court.

"It has huge ramifications for patients' Right to Know throughout Ohio and prevents any hospital from concealing or artificially classifying medical records," said Lee Plakas of Canton, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiff in the lawsuit brought against Aultman in 2012 in an effort to force the hospital to produce the complete medical record.

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