When you terminate your previous EHR contract, you have a few options I can think of:
1) Continue to pay a fee to have access to the old records. Depending on the vendor, this could be almost the same as you were paying previously for that portion.
2) Do as Sharon did and download the records. It does not need to be printed on paper or anything. It can be data files you store in whatever secure way you prefer. I agree this is extremely time consuming.
3) Your old EHR vendor will gladly charge you way more than you ever thought possible to develop a way to transfer the data.
4) Sometimes your new EHR vendor is so excited about having you as a client (and maybe had another client with the same previous EHR) that they may be able to assist with the download, or have a way to transfer data. Your old vendor will charge you for any work/time they spend on this.
Try to think of it like this when everyone was on paper. Let's say you paid a storage facility to keep your old records. You decide to start using a new storage facility. It is your responsibility to either keep paying the old storage company, or move the charts to the new facility. If you no longer pay the old facility, they are not obligated to keep storing your records.
I would imagine the $1500 fee is not just to access this one record, but will give you access to additional information. I would immediately get on whichever option above is your best solution, as you are required to have access to past records for a certain number of years depending on your state. I have seen practices usually do a combination of options 1 & 2. They may keep the old system running for a year or two. Patients seen in that time frame have their records manually individually uploaded to the new system. During that time, the practice may hire some high school or college students to come work on weekends, over the summer, etc to complete option 2 if your current staff is unable.
My personal opinion is that EHR companies realize this, and once they have you as a client, they know how difficult and expensive it can be to change due to the legal wording of their contracts. Unfortunately, they do hold the cards (and the charts).
Good luck whichever option you choose!