(a) (1) (A) A provider having custody and control of any evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, laboratory report, or biopsy slide in a patient's record shall retain such item for a period of not less than ten years from the date such item was created.
(B) The requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall not apply to:
(i) An individual provider who has retired from or sold his or her professional practice if such provider has notified the patient of such retirement or sale and offered to provide such items in the patient's record or copies thereof to another provider of the patient's choice and, if the patient so requests, to the patient; or
(ii) A hospital which is an institution as defined in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (4) of Code Section 31-7-1, which shall retain patient records in accordance with rules and regulations for hospitals as issued pursuant to Code Section 31-7-2.
(2) Upon written request from the patient or a person authorized to have access to the patient's record under an advance directive for health care or a durable power of attorney for health care for such patient, the provider having custody and control of the patient's record shall furnish a complete and current copy of that record, in accordance with the provisions of this Code section. If the patient is deceased, such request may be made by the following persons:
(A) The executor, administrator, or temporary administrator for the decedent's estate if such person has been appointed;
(B) If an executor, administrator, or temporary administrator for the decedent's estate has not been appointed, by the surviving spouse;
(C) If there is no surviving spouse, by any surviving child; and
(D) If there is no surviving child, by any parent.
(b) Any record requested under subsection (a) of this Code section shall within 30 days of the receipt of a request for records be furnished to the patient, any other provider designated by the patient, any person authorized by paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section to request a patient's or deceased patient's medical records, or any other person designated by the patient. Such record request shall be accompanied by:
(1) An authorization in compliance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 42 U.S.C. Section 1320d-2, et seq., and regulations implementing such act; and
(2) A signed written authorization as specified in subsection (d) of this Code section.
(c) If the provider reasonably determines that disclosure of the record to the patient will be detrimental to the physical or mental health of the patient, the provider may refuse to furnish the record; however, upon such refusal, the patient's record shall, upon written request by the patient, be furnished to any other provider designated by the patient.
(d) A provider shall not be required to release records in accordance with this Code section unless and until the requesting person has furnished the provider with a signed written authorization indicating that he or she is authorized to have access to the patient's records by paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section. Any provider shall be justified in relying upon such written authorization.
(e) Any provider or person who in good faith releases copies of medical records in accordance with this Code section shall not be found to have violated any criminal law or to be civilly liable to the patient, the deceased patient's estate, or to any other person.
Code 1981, § 31-32-2, enacted by Ga. L. 1984, p. 1680, § 1; Code 1981, § 31-33-2, as redesignated by Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 31; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1157, § 1; Ga. L. 2002, p. 641, § 2; Ga. L. 2006, p. 494, § 3/HB 912; Ga. L. 2007, p. 133, § 13/HB 24; Ga. L. 2008, p. 12, § 2-32/SB 433.