The Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida Medical Association is asking the Florida legislature to change the law to increase what doctors may charge to get copies of medical records. Currently, Florida doctors can charge $1 per page for the first 25 pages and 25 after that.
Believe me, I realize the retrieval costs are such that doctors are not making money producing medical records at this price. But should they be? Patients are entitled to their medical records. You need medical records for a lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers in Florida have characterized the Florida doctors’ request as a backdoor strategy to avoid medical malpractice claims. I’m not sure that an increase in the cost of medical records will do that. But I also don’t see why the current prices don’t adequately give reimburse doctors for their costs of producing medical records.
- This is an older post, obviously. But this is the 2022 Florida statute on the cost of collecting medical records. The key language: “The exclusive charge for copies of patient records may include sales tax and actual postage, and, except for nonpaper records that are subject to a charge not to exceed $2, may not exceed $1 per page. A fee of up to $1 may be charged for each year of records requested…However, a patient whose records are copied or searched for the purpose of continuing to receive medical care is not required to pay a charge for copying or for the search. “
The Collecting Medical Record Scam
HIPAA allows health care providers to charge a “reasonable, cost-based fee” for:
- The cost of the production, including supplies and labor (which is always wildly overbilled)
- Postage and shipping
- The costs associated with a summary which we never ask for
You would think an electronic record would be a lot cheaper, but half of the time they make this more expensive than just getting a hard copy. I don’t know why. Wait, I do know why. There are two reasons: (1) money and (2) to make medical malpractice actions more difficult to investigate.
I’m not the only one who has noticed this. The American Health Information Management Association says hospitals and doctors should charge no more than a dollar to send patients their electronic records. Eventually, people will wake up on this issue.
Discouraging Medical Malpractice Cases
I alluded to this earlier. It is a big thing. Let’s say there is a 5% chance a doctor committed malpractice that killed someone you love. It is hard to entice a lawyer to spend $2,000 to collect records on a case that is very unlikely to be a case. So is the victim’s family who might already be going under financial hardship going to put up $2,000 of their own money? That is a callous thing to require, right? This is why health care providers do not want to give you your medical records on a disc, even when this can be done in a matter of seconds.