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Can we make pt's pay?

  1. #1
    Location
    Allentown PA
    Posts
    32
    Question Can we make pt's pay?
    Medical Coding Books
    Is it legal to make a patient pay any balance before releasing their records to them? I know there is a fine line. The provider I work for gives immunization records, but want's any balance paid prior to releasing entire records. Is this legal?

  2. #2
    Location
    New Windsor, New York
    Posts
    1,183
    Default Cannot withhold patient records
    Per the HIPAA Privacy Rule, 164.524 (A) (2) and (3) the covered entity may deny a patient access to his or her PHI, but the reasons are specific and none of them are because the ability or lack thereof to pay a bill. The reasons that a CE may deny this is usually if permitting a patient to access the PHI would jeopardize the health or safety of the patient or others. There are other reasons, such as access to research, but the health and saftey reason is the most widely used. So, denying a patient access to records because of an unpaid bill would be a violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

    Lance Smith, MPA, COC, CPMA, CEMC, RHIT, CCS-P, CHC, CHPC

    Director, Health Information Management
    HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley
    Kingston, NY

  3. #3
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    467
    Default
    You cannot ransom patient records for a balance due. When they ask for records, be sure to get a good address and phone number to send the records...then you can mention to the patient, "Oh, gosh, I notice you have a balance of $75.00 for copays...did you want to pay that right now with a credit card?" Check your state rules and regulations to see how quickly you have to release the records and how much you can charge for the records.
    Marcus Murphy, CPPM

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