medicbilling

Posts Tagged ‘medical records’

Can Your Practice Charge For Copies Of Patient Records?

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm

This answer to this question is state-specific in nature, as it is dictated by state statute.  In Virginia (M.E.D.I.C., Inc.’s state of incorporation) , the Virginia Health Records Privacy statute [§ 32.1-127.1:03 (J)] states that “[i]f an individual requests a copy of his health record from a health care entity, the health care entity may impose a reasonable cost-based fee, which shall include only the cost of supplies for and labor of copying the requested information [and] postage when the individual requests that such information be mailed.”

This begs the question of what constitutes a “reasonable cost-based fee.”  In factoring such a reasonable cost-based fee, a practice may assess a fee to cover the supplies utilized to copy the records based on the total number of pages copied, factoring in the average per-page cost of paper, toner and expenses associated with leasing or owning a copy machine.  Additionally, the practice may assess a fee to compensate for labor expenses paid to staff engaged in the copying of files.  This portion of the fee is based on the time it takes to copy the records…  it specifically should not include the time spent searching for and retrieving records.

Finally, it bears noting that Virginia Code of § 8.01-413 (B) permits health care entities to charge fees to attorneys, insurers and others authorized by the patient for copies of medical records.  These fees can exceed those charged to the actual patient, however must not to exceed $0.50 per page for the first 50 pages and $0.25 for each additional page, $1.00 per page for copies from microfilm or other micrographic process, plus a fee for search and handling (not to exceed $10) plus all postage and shipping costs. 

All such copies of hospital, nursing facility, physician’s, or other health care provider’s records or papers must be furnished within fifteen days of the  request.

Remember, this is state-specific!  If not located in Virigia, be sure to check your state’s laws!

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