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A medical records invoice is used by hospitals and healthcare facilities to charge patients for the cost of providing a copy of their medical records. The costs typically result from printing materials, the cost of shipping the records, and the labor spent both looking for records and making the copy. Medical records often are made up of doctor’s notes, prescriptions, past test results, surgery information, and any current and past treatment plans. The cost of having one’s records copied is determined by the state-mandated rates as well as the size and complexity of an individual’s records. On average, healthcare providers charge roughly one dollar ($1.00) per page.
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The price healthcare facilities are permitted to charge for providing medical records is determined by the state in which the facility operates. The only states that do not currently have statutes enacted to regulate medical record copy pricing are Alaska, South Dakota, and Idaho. For a full list of state regulations, head to MediCopy’s “State-by-State Guide of Medical Record Copying Fees.”
The following are commonly asked questions regarding medical records:
Can a medical provider deny a patient access to their records?
In short, no one can be denied access to their own medical records. Even if the patient has one (1) or more unpaid bills or switched providers, the health institution is legally required to provide records when requested (the standard is within thirty (30) days). Additionally, when requested, healthcare facilities are required to state the total cost before providing the records.
Who can access a patient’s medical records?
Medical records are required to be kept private due to the enactment of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Only four (4) entities can gain access to records, and they are 1) the patient themselves, 2) the patient’s parent(s) or guardian(s), 3) someone that the patient gave explicit authorization to, and 4), other providers of health-related services who rendered care to the patient.
How long do medical providers have to keep records for?
The length of time doctors are required to hold on to medical records depends on the state in which the medical provider is located and whether it is a private doctor or public hospital. The general time span is five (5) to ten (10) years. A full list of state-by-state requirements can be found in Table A-7 provided by HealthIT.gov.