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Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 12:50 PM   #1
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Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Hello all
I have changed my primary physician. Of course my new primary physician sent a medical release authorization form to the previous primary physician. The next day in the mail I receive a letter stating. Effective as of the above date we now charge for copies of medical records. The charge is .75 cents per page, payable in advance. 54 pages at .75 = $40.50. As soon as payment is received records will be copied and sent out. Needless to say it was a good thing it was a weekend so I had two days to calm down and plan a strategy before going off the deep end with my previous doctor. I live in NY state does anyone have any idea if their is a defense from this type of action being taken by a doctor.
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 01:04 PM   #2
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

I don't know about NY, but where I'm from the records belong to the patient. I could go into my doctor's office and tell them to give me the original records and they would have to give them to me. So you might want to try that - go into the office and tell them you want the originals.
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 01:26 PM   #3
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Well, according to this writeup, they are allowed to charge you the $0.75 per page, so disregard my previous post:

http://ihcrp.georgetown.edu/privacy/...ides/ny/ny.pdf

"See and get a copy of your medical record.
Your health care provider usually must let you inspect or see your medical record
within ten (10) days of receiving your written request. Your health care provider
generally must give you a copy of your medical record within 30 days after they
receive your request.
Your health care provider is allowed to charge you up to 75˘ per page for paper
copies. They can also charge you for postage. Your provider cannot refuse to
give you access to your medical record just because you are unable to pay for it."
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 01:36 PM   #4
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Thank you Patrick
The information you provided will be helpful. I have also contacted my health care provider MVP of NY and the are saying they will have an answer by Monday and will contact me. I had the new doctor talk with the previous doctor to see if they can come up with what actual records instead of all 54 pages the new doctor will need to continue. It is not the money but rule seems to be a bit bent. Of course we could order the test all over again and it would only cost me out of pocket $10.00.

Thank you again
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 03:46 PM   #5
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Back when I was in private practice, I would not charge for sending or copying medical records required for ongoing care (though I had the right to, it just didn't feel right). But if it was for some administrative reason I would charge enough to cover my costs.

I do not think any provider is required to hand over your original records -- in fact it would be foolish and medicolegally inadvisable to do so. But as for a copy or right to view the originals (under observation to assure they are not altered), that should be the patient's right to my knowledge.

Any one who ever used a lawyer might know about charges for things such as copies, postage, handling, etc. Hard to imagine why anyone would resent a professional from charging for a request that costs money to fulfull.
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 04:01 PM   #6
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

When we moved from Maryland to Virginia two years ago we had to get all new doctors and I ran into these same charges. What really pissed me off was that my file from my primary care doctor was over 50 pages. They charged $.40 per page. When I saw the copies they sent at the new doctor's office, 90% of it was handwritten and completely illegible and useless. If doctors are going to charge for providing copies of records, the least they could do is maintain good records that are usable by the next doctor.

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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 04:22 PM   #7
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

I may be semi-FIREing soon. I don't want to transfer copies of medical records (yet) to new doctors, but I want to have possession of my medical records and electronically scan them in because I may be overseas. And I also want copies for when I have to apply for medical insurance again.

This would be for dentist, doctor, and eye doctor. So do I just go in to the office and ask for them? Should I expect to pay for copies and wait 30 days to receive them in the mail?

Thanks,
Kramer
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 04:37 PM   #8
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer
This would be for dentist, doctor, and eye doctor. So do I just go in to the office and ask for them? Should I expect to pay for copies and wait 30 days to receive them in the mail?
Yep, my guess is that you would request copies sent to you, sign an authorization to let them do that, then take the copies and scan them in yourself. Could take days to weeks to receive the copies I'd guess, depending on the office. Not a bad strategy, all in all, to have them stored digitally.

BTW, if your eye care is routine, you probably don't need to bother with those. But if you receive ongoing care for glaucoma, retinopathy, etc. you will need those copied.
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 04:58 PM   #9
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer
I may be semi-FIREing soon. I don't want to transfer copies of medical records (yet) to new doctors, but I want to have possession of my medical records and electronically scan them in because I may be overseas. And I also want copies for when I have to apply for medical insurance again.

This would be for dentist, doctor, and eye doctor. So do I just go in to the office and ask for them? Should I expect to pay for copies and wait 30 days to receive them in the mail?

Thanks,
Kramer
Since they have to let you see your records, could you take a digital camera with you and photograph each page? That way you'd have it electronically already and it wouldn't cost you anything.
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 05:12 PM   #10
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Don't begrudge paying for the copies. After all the office has to pay someone to dig out the file and sit and run the stuff throught the copier. Seventy five cents a page doesn't seem unreasonable to me for 50 pages.

I once had to terminate a client, who of course wanted their file. I had it copied for the client, which is all well and good. However, there was about 8 linear feet of file. Can you imagine how long it took to copy that thing? I can't remember what I charged but I charged for it.


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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 07:03 PM   #11
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Quote:
Originally Posted by boots
Hello all
I have changed my primary physician. Of course my new primary physician sent a medical release authorization form to the previous primary physician. The next day in the mail I receive a letter stating. Effective as of the above date we now charge for copies of medical records. The charge is .75 cents per page, payable in advance. 54 pages at .75 = $40.50. As soon as payment is received records will be copied and sent out. Needless to say it was a good thing it was a weekend so I had two days to calm down and plan a strategy before going off the deep end with my previous doctor. I live in NY state does anyone have any idea if their is a defense from this type of action being taken by a doctor.
As another poster mentioned, if you requested files from a lawyer or accountant or any other kind of professional, you would expect to be charged. Why is your doctor different? I'm sure they used to provide copies for free, but as medicare fees have gone down, have had to start charging for things like that, in order to keep themselves in business. At least, this is the case for most of the family practice doctors who I know. You shouldn't expect any freebies or courtesies in modern day medicine.

"People are happy to pay for what they want, but not for what they need..."
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 08:31 PM   #12
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick
Since they have to let you see your records, could you take a digital camera with you and photograph each page? That way you'd have it electronically already and it wouldn't cost you anything.
It is posts like this that will get you nominated for the McCarthur Genuis Award!

Actually, I don't mind paying in this instance. It just seems weird not to be in control of your own medical records and if I go overseas this will become a necessity.

Kramer
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 08:40 PM   #13
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Yep, my guess is that you would request copies sent to you, sign an authorization to let them do that, then take the copies and scan them in yourself. Could take days to weeks to receive the copies I'd guess, depending on the office. Not a bad strategy, all in all, to have them stored digitally.

BTW, if your eye care is routine, you probably don't need to bother with those. But if you receive ongoing care for glaucoma, retinopathy, etc. you will need those copied.
My eye care has been routine. I still might want a copy because my eye doctor insisted on putting a one year expiration on my eye prescription. He combines (on purpose) the contact lens and eyeglass prescription on the same piece of paper instead of putting them on different pieces of paper. He does this on purpose so that you have to come back in a year (and I called him on it this year and almost got into an argument).

Federal law states that eyeglass prescriptions must be for two years (or more) unless there is a medical reason, which there was not (for contacts it is one year requirement in California). I will never, ever, ever go back to this guy -- and I am going to let him know when I don't need him anymore. I still may need him if my prescription expires next year and I have not gotten a replacement prescription yet and then I can request an emergency extension -- this was the "out" he gave me when I whined (my insurance only allows for once a year exams and my insurance may be changing anyway). The way my insurance is set up and the way he does prescriptions, there has to be a time period each year when I have an invalid prescription -- since I am out of the country a lot, this is a real issue for me since I can't really function without eye correction (20/300, myopia) and your contacts and glasses can get destroyed or stolen on a long trip.

Kramer
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 08:52 PM   #14
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Kramer,
I can only speak about Thailand and Mexico regarding eye care, but in both locations eye exams are basically free. Now if you want a super duper exam like complete testing for glaucoma, a field of vision test is only a few bucks.

About YOUR records:
I have a different opinion on this issue. I believe if I am paying, I own it. I take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for my health and care. Outside of the US this is NEVER an issue. However, years ago, I had to have some x-rays here in the US. They confirmed what the issue was etc. Upon leaving the office I asked for the x-rays. I may or may not use this guy again….it’s up to me, right? The girl at the desk told me that the x-rays were theirs and if I wanted a copy she would have to charge me. I asked her who was paying for them? Of course she said I was. So I told here that if her office wanted to pay she could keep them, if not, they were mine. I walked out with the pictures.

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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 09:46 PM   #15
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy
Upon leaving the office I asked for the x-rays. I may or may not use this guy again….it’s up to me, right? The girl at the desk told me that the x-rays were theirs and if I wanted a copy she would have to charge me. I asked her who was paying for them? Of course she said I was. So I told here that if her office wanted to pay she could keep them, if not, they were mine. I walked out with the pictures.
The "girl at the desk" may not have been very tactful, but in almost all states, while you have a right to view or obtain a copy of your records as well you should, the provider has a right to charge reasonable clerical and handling fees for providing the copies (over and above the fee for the service), and the PROVIDER owns the physical records. Here is California's policy, for example. And here's a brochure from the U. of Fla. stating essentially the same for this state,

Your reasons for handling it they way you described may be personal or not relevant, but a simple friendly request (sign a 1 page form) would almost always be fulfilled routinely - indeed it must be by law. A few days delay and reasonable fee may have been required. Doesn't seem too onerous.

Just an alternate perspective in the hope that folks will see the two sides to this coin.
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 09:56 PM   #16
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Rich,
The form I use is cash. They can take it, or leave it. But if I am paying, I am taking my belongings with me.

Again, this is only an issue in the US. Everywhere else we have been, it's not a problem.

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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-03-2006, 11:01 PM   #17
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Quote:
The form I use is cash.
8) 8)

I am totally looking forward to telling my eye doctor why he has permanently lost my business and that what he is doing is unethical. I can't believe what he does and gets away with it.

If it wasn't a possibility that I was going to be on a long overseas vacation when the year is up, and that I wasn't in transition in regards to insurance, I would have let him have it this year.

Quote:
Again, this is only an issue in the US. Everywhere else we have been, it's not a problem.
I think because there is almost always a third party payer here.

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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-04-2006, 09:31 AM   #18
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Kramer, if you buy eyeglasses online, you just fill in the numbers from your prescription. The site where Greg ordered his glasses did not require an actual prescription.

I think in most states the provider who makes the records owns the records. This is also consistent with federal law, HIPAA. Under federal law you have the right to inspect your records and get a copy of the records, but not the right to have the original records. These are the business records of the provider.

As a professional that keeps records, I do not want the file to leave my hands. I certainly would copy files for clients. In fact, in my business I generally give copies of most documents generated to my clients anyway as I do the work. I need the file in case the matter comes up again. I need the file if I am sued for malpractice. I need the file to refer to if I have a similar matter. I need the file so I can tell if I have a conflict of interest. Etc.

Billy, if I was the employer of the person who let you walk out with the original x-rays I would be mighty irritated. A copy, fine. The original, no.
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records
Old 12-04-2006, 09:47 AM   #19
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Re: Doctors now charge for copies of medical records

Billy raises an interesting point. Before that post, I agreed with others that medical records are essentially the business records of the doctor. He or she produced those notes and records as part of the ongoing process of running the business. But when the doctor sends me down the hall or across town to some other business to have an x-ray or MRI or whatever, and that business sends the result to my doctor, I agree with Billy. If my doctor wants to keep a copy to CYA then he or she can pay for the copy, but I've already paid for the original and don't think I should have to pay again.
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