Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Don't Pay Too Much for Your Medical Records

Do you want to see a copy of your hospital medical record? Many people do in order to check for errors, to better understand their care, to provide information to a new doctor, or for any number of other reasons.

Don’t Pay Too Much for Your Medical Records

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Do you want to see a copy of your hospital medical record? Many people do in order to check for errors, to better understand their care, to provide information to a new doctor, or for any number of other reasons.

You have a legal right not only to see your record but also to obtain a copy of it under the federal HIPAA law. That’s the same law that protects against unauthorized disclosure of your medical information. HIPAA lets hospitals charge a fee for copying, but no more than the actual cost.

A recently filed class action lawsuit accuses three New York hospitals of overcharging. New York law follows HIPAA in permitting hospitals to charge for the cost of copying records but sets a maximum of 75 cents per page even when the actual expense exceeds that amount. The plaintiffs in the case claim that these hospitals were charging the maximum for all records when their actual cost was only 25 cents a page.

The per-page overcharges amount to pennies, but those pennies can add up for records that include dozens of pages, as many do.

A class action lawsuit involving 40 Philadelphia hospitals in 2005 resulted in a settlement of almost $600,00 for medical records overcharges.  Pennsylvania law sets maximum charges for copying medical records of $1.42 per page for the first 20, $1.05 for the next 40, and 34 cents for anything above that.

If you would like a copy of your hospital medical record, the law is clear.  You have the right to receive it and the right to pay no more than the actual cost of copying it. Health care is expensive enough without additional illegal fees.

 

Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. Professor, School of Law & Drexel School of Public Health
About this blog

The Field Clinic reports and analyzes health care laws, government policies, and political trends that are transforming the care we receive and the way we pay for it. Read more about our panel of bloggers here.

This blog is produced in partnership with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health-policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Portions of this blog may also be found on Inquirer.com and in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

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Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. Professor, School of Law & Drexel School of Public Health
Jeffrey Brenner, MD Founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Medical Director of the Urban Health Institute at Cooper University Healthcare
Andy Carter President & CEO, The Hospital & Healthsystem Assoc. of Pa.
Robert B. Doherty Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs & Public Policy American College of Physicians
David Grande, MD, MPA Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Tine Hansen-Turton Chief Strategy Officer of Public Health Management Corporation
Drew A. Harris, DPM, MPH Director of Health Policy Program at the Jefferson School of Population Health
Antoinette Kraus Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Laval Miller-Wilson Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Law Project
David B. Nash, MD, MBA Founding Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health
Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D. Professor of Health Care Management, Business Economics and Public Policy at The Wharton School
Howard J. Peterson, MHA Managing Partner of TRG Healthcare, a national healthcare consulting firm
Donald Schwarz, MD, MPH Deputy Mayor for Health & Opportunity and Health Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia
Paula L. Stillman, MD, MBA Healthcare consultant with special expertise in population health and disease management
Elizabeth A. W. Williams Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer for Independence Blue Cross
Krystyna Dereszowska A third-year law student concentrating in health at Drexel
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