October 1, 1998
Mr. Steven Schrage
P.O. Box 165
Fleischmanns, NY 12430
Dear Mr. Schrage:
I have received your letter of September 29 in which you requested a pamphlet
describing the New York Freedom of Information Law.
Enclosed is a copy of "Your Right to Know", which describes and summarizes the
Freedom of Information Law. Since your inquiry involves medical malpractice, it is noted
that a different provision of law, §18 of the Public Health Law, deals specifically with access
to patient records. In brief, that statute prohibits disclosure of medical records to all but
"qualified persons." Subdivision (1)(g) of §18 defines the phrase "qualified person" to mean:
"any properly identified subject, committee for an incompetent
appointed pursuant to article seventy-eight of the mental
hygiene law, or a parent of an infant, a guardian of an infant
appointed pursuant to article seventeen of the surrogate's
court procedure act or other legally appointed guardian of an
infant who may be entitled to request access to a clinical
record pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision two of this
section, or an attorney representing or acting on behalf of the
subject or the subjects estate."
To obtain additional information regarding access to patient information, it is
suggested that you contact Mr. Peter Farr, NYS Department of Health, Hedley Park, Suite
303, Troy, NY 12180.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman