The law entitles you to a copy of your medical records from any medical facility. Generally, they will require you to fill out a signed consent form. Most places charge the patient for the copies, but don't charge if going directly to another medical office. What kind of records you will get out of your file is another matter. Seems like everyone has their own standard as to what records they will release, i.e. everything from your chart, down to just transcribed records. It can be very annoying trying to get the information you need.
One clinic I went to would only provide transcribed notes, full of errors, and nothing else, not even the chart of what medications I took, dosages, starting/stopping dates, etc... That was the information I really needed. However, if you need to the records for a new doctor, I would also request a copy for yourself, just so you know what information the doctor will be receiving. That way you will be prepared to answer questions your new doctor might have from your old records. It's good to have copies of your records from every doctor you have seen, for continuity.
What I really want to know is what happens to those records if the doctor retires, the office closes, etc... Are they stored somewhere or destroyed? Anyone have a clue?