Legislature changes fees for obtaining medical records

Patricia Rogers, a healthcare attorney with McAfee & Taft, was interviewed by The Oklahoman about a new amendment to Oklahoma law that sets forth the fees that hospitals, physicians and other medical institutions can charge patients for copies of their medical records.

Rogers explained that, effective November 1, 2013, healthcare providers may charge patients 50 cents per page for paper copies and $5 for each copy of an X-ray, photograph or image, or pathology slide. A separate set of fees applies to requests for records in electronic or digital form.

“If a patient requests a copy of his or her records in electronic form and the health care provider maintains electronic health records and can deliver records electronically, the health care provider must provide the records in electronic form and may charge 30 cents a page up to a maximum of $200 per request,” she said.

Healthcare providers cannot tack on a retrieval or processing fee, nor can they charge for faxing medical records, but they may charge for the actual cost of mailing the copies or a computer disk. The new law also allows healthcare providers to charge an additional $10 base fee for any requests from lawyers and insurance companies and in response to subpoenas, she said.

The law does not address any other types of requests — that is, those that are not made by patients, attorneys, insurance companies, or in response to subpoenas — and so healthcare providers may set their own fees. However, Rogers said such records can only be provided to the extent permitted by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and by Oklahoma law.