Monday, February 1, 2010

Need a copy of your medical record? Be prepared to pay


Recently I can became aware of the price for a few pieces of paper after receiving rejections from the insurer on physician visits and ancillary services (radiology, labs).

The initial request by Blue Cross was for our physicians to send medical records directly to Blue Cross. Both providers did so after we signed a record release (HIPPA), and without a charge.

After waiting the prescribed time period, we were told by Blue Cross that the records were probably somewhere in the Blue Cross system but without a letter stating the specific reason for sending them along with the records they had no way of assigning to a patient. We still don't know where those specific records are: an employee home, the shredder, in a file somewhere, they couldn't tell us.

In order to get our case reviewed for payment, which in our case is application to our high deductible, we had to order the medical records be sent again, except this time we needed them in our hands so we could attach a letter. We contacted the providers again, (one at a practice and another that is a hospital managed office) and were told it would be $26 at one office and $25 at another for a copy given to the patient. Let me repeat - free if sent to the insurance provider, $25 if given to you.

The medical record at the first provider was 6 pages (4 pages were labs), the other about 12 (again - mostly labs). So for 18 pages of information - it was $51 or a cost of $2.83 a page. The fee was not based on how many pages, but a flat fee.

It takes about 10 seconds to copy a page if you are doing it manually, and if you have a higer end copier - about 10 seconds total for the entire chart. Time to pull the chart - about 3o seconds. Total max time: 1 to 2 minutes. At the rate of $26 for 2 minutes - that would be $780 an hour (30 records copied @ $26).

So besides the hassle of being rejected, the hours spent on the phone trying to understand why, and all the other obstacles - we are now being charged extraordinary fees when trying to get our own medical records. It just doesn't seem right to be charged for a copy of the same medical records that are given as a courtesy to the insurance plans.

What do you think?

5 comments:

  1. WOW, I just requested copies of my tests as they will not send them to my doctor because he is not assiocated with Oakwood Hospital...

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  2. Recently moved to Texas from Pennsylvania. My eye doctor in PA said they'd forward my records when I was established with an opthalmologist in Texas; otherwise, it would cost me $2/page if i wanted to take my records along. I'd been a patient there for at least 20 years. Can you imagine what that would have cost me? Obviously, I waited.

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  3. i currently do manage medical records for our office and we do not charge the patient or the insurance companys for records

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  4. Bravo to the physician offices who don't charge patients for their medical records.

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  5. I WORK FOR A MEDICAL OFFICE. WHEN A PATIENT REQUESTS A COPY. OF THEIR MEDICAL RECORDS, WE NOTIFY THE PATIENT VERBALLY AND IT IS ALSO PRINTED ON THE MEDICAL RECORD RELEASE THAT THE PATIENT SIGNS THAT THE FIRST COPY IS FREE BUT SUBSEQUENT REQUEST MADE BY THE PATIENT WILL INCUR. A $25 FEE. WE ALWAYS ENCOURAGE PATIENTS TO KEEP THEIR ORIGINAL COPY. IF ANOTHER DOCTOR, INSURANCE CO, ETC. NEEDS A COPY ALWAYS GET YOUR ORIGINAL BACK OR MAKE A COPY FOR THEM.

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