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Charges for copies of medical records

  1. #1
    Flint, Michigan
    Question Charges for copies of medical records
    Medical Coding Books
    In one of my classes we were told that the doctor could charge so much per page to copy the patient's medical chart. I need that information now as a doctor in my office is quitting practice and the patients are having fits about being charged but I can't find it. I need to say that she is only charging the patients that want the records released to themselves, not when released to another doctor. She is charging them to discourage them from getting them directly. Does anyone know what the rules are (I'm in Michigan) and how much can by charged by law? Or where I could find it?

    Also, if this doctor recieved records from a doctor out of state and the patient wants her records released to herself, is the doctor allowed to release the out of state records too? or just her records?

  2. #2

    When this scenario occurred in my last practice, we contacted the County Medical Assoc. and they provided us with the guidelines in writing. They were extremely helpful and I'm sure your local association would be too. Also, there is information on the State/Medi-Cal home page that gave us some insight. It broke down charge per page, how to properly release, etc. There was mention that only the records that "belonged" to the physician doing the copying/releasing could be given to the patient. In other words, a patient would have to contact EACH physician for a complete record. I hope that makes sense.

    Good Luck!
    Sylvia Thompson, CPC
    Billing Supervisor
    San Diego, CA

  3. Default
    We only release records from our physicians as well. If there are records in a patients chart that were obtained from another physician, those records are not released to the patient, they have to contact that office directly to obtain the records themselves. Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Default Charge
    We normally charge a flat rate for the copying (10) and then a charge per page if over 15 pages (as an example). If the patient transferred care from another like doctor (ex. ob/gyn to ob/gyn) we will release those copies as well because she this info is related to her current care.
    LMJohnson, CPC

  5. #5
    Flint, Michigan
    Thanks for all the replies. Yes, they were all very helpful!

  6. Default
    Here is a link for what all states are allowed to charge. They also indicate the statute.

    I would release information received from another provider if the information was used for medical decision making (which how can you tell if it was or wasn't - so basically I would release it). I usually attach a type of disclaimer indicating that the information was received from another provider and we cannot attest to the accuracy or completeness. And that they should contact that provider for further information.

  7. #7
    Duluth, Minnesota
    The patient has the right to have a copy of EVERYTHING and anything in their chart. Regardless of where it came from. They have the right to review their complete chart at any time, they have a right to sit down in the facility and go over everything page by page without getting any copies if they want to. They simply need to request to do so and set up a time and date. They're entitled to copies (even if they have to pay), of everything in their chart. They're entitled to see when, why and to whom other copies have been sent to or sent from as well.
    Without a copy of everything, (info from other providers/services) how would their chart be complete? If there is information in their chart from another provider THAT information was reviewed and possibly used to help determine treatment, to not provide it to the patient as part of their complete chart could be costly!
    I've needed copies of my own medical records in the past, for personal use - they didn't charge me anything. I simply requested what I needed, (from date to date) gave them time to get it together and went to pick it up. Showing proper ID and signing forms. No charge. I even reviewed my chart while there. They did say however, that if it was for an attorney there would have been a charge. (I assume because they feel reimbursement would come from them later)
    In my opinion, for providers who are quitting/leaving their practice - they should provide the patients copies for free, if the patient is deciding to go elsewhere for care. After all, it is in the patients BEST interest if they have their information immediately available for their new provider once they decide where they're going. If they stay within the practice, the chart is already "shared" and there's no need for copies.
    For us, all requests for copies are done through the HIM Records Department, the physician/providers are rarely involved with the copying of charts/chart notes.
    why would she want to discourage the patient from getting copies of their charts directly?
    {that's my opinion on the posted matter}
    Donna, CPC, CPC-H

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