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Refusal to release my medical records.

on 4/25/12 6:37 am - VA
RNY on 09/14/11 with
 We moved from one town to another and switched PCP.  With my pre wLS co-morbidities it is probably a decent size.

Just found out that they won't release my or my family's medical records without a hefty fee!  I'm so steamed.  We looked it up and apparently this extortion is legal.  

We've never been charged before when it was going straight from doctor to doctor but this doc.'s office is charging 50c. a copy for the first 50 sheets and 25c every other sheet. Plus postage because they don't fax.  In this day and age it should all be electronic but that's another story I guess.

I'm not bloody paying it.  I think it's a disgrace and another reason I don't like for profit health care but again - another story.

HW: 218, SW: 204, CW: 139 GW: 112-119

on 4/25/12 6:44 am
Hmmmm, I am in Canada and we have social health care.  If we change doctors or if our doctor passes away or retires and we want our medical records we also have to personally pay for the copying service.  The medical records belong to the doctor.  You have the right to keep your own notes too and ask for copies of any lab results, etc.

Personally I would ask to know how many pages are in each file and be provided with the cost of the file beforehand to help with the decision-making.

(deactivated member)
on 4/25/12 6:48 am - Wiesbaden, Germany
DS on 10/08/13
It's actually become fairly standard for medical practices to charge these fees.

It's cheaper to pay the fees than repeat medical tests and procedures.

Suggest you get the records and run a copy of them for the gaining PCP and retaining the other copy for yourself.  Also, take the time to review them.  I had to get a copy of my medical records from my original bariatric surgeon and pages from other patients were mixed in.
on 4/25/12 6:59 am - Carmichael, CA
DS on 12/03/12
I've been told that they can fax to another doctor for free but if I wanted my records I'd have to pay for their copying fee. The last place didn't even include everything in the records they gave me so now I've learned to keep copies of everything myself. It is worth paying for them because you never know who is saying what about you and you never know with insurance when you might need proof of something. I thought my doctor was writing down details of my diet but when I got the records I found out she wasn't. Good luck
on 4/26/12 10:39 pm - VA
RNY on 09/14/11 with
 yeah, they told me they can't/won't fax the records.  My new office don't charge the patients and everything in in e-records, but I may just get copies of the important stuff from now on.

HW: 218, SW: 204, CW: 139 GW: 112-119

on 4/25/12 8:28 am
 I live in ct and work in the medical field I have never been charged for records/ copies and you have every right to ur records as long as u sign a release form from the dr to send them to another dr! And the have something like a 7 day wait usually. People are crazy anything to get money it's not like they haven't got enough money from u for just being a patient with them. Good luck their just pissed ur not their patient anymore
on 4/26/12 10:43 pm - VA
RNY on 09/14/11 with
 Yeah, this is Virginia and I think this probably varies from state to state.  We looked it up and this isn't covered by hippa.  They are allowed to charge a "reasonable fee" whatever that means.  I think they are already well compensated between my co-pays and insurance pay outs, but state law allows them to extort like this.

Lesson learned.  Even though my new practice chooses not to do this and it's all electronic there anyway, I am going to get my own copies from now on of the important stuff for my own record.

HW: 218, SW: 204, CW: 139 GW: 112-119

on 4/25/12 8:36 am
I suspect it's not just being money hungry. The cost of the overhead for a medical office is a lot, and it takes a lot of staff time to copy a record and send it.

I like the suggestions of getting a copy for yourself. And maybe you can look through your chart and weed out what doesn't need to be sent.

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly." Richard Bach

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Valerie G.
on 4/25/12 9:37 am - Northwest Mountains, GA
Ask the doc if they are using an EHR and if they can find anything on your health records.

 9 years post op DS 
There is room on this earth for all of God's to the mashed potatoes

(deactivated member)
on 4/25/12 10:06 am - Wiesbaden, Germany
DS on 10/08/13

Yanno, one of my former medical providers used an electronic records system and was nice enough to give me a CD with my files when I moved on.  I think the records were in pdf format.