Expensive medical records is an understandable frustration of many disability applicants. This is despite the fact that most of these records are kept electronically. They should be very easy to transfer to the patient. Solutions exist under the HITECH Act.
What is HITECH Act?
A potential solution for lower cost medical records is to electronically request under the HITECH Act. Many people know that medical records are protected as private as part of the “HIPAA”. The HITECH Act is part of this law, but provides for a cheaper way to receive low cost records electronically. Many medical providers (or medical record contractors) aggressively pursue fees for records. This includes third party contractors that hospitals and doctors use to handle their records. Under the rule, the fees that can be charged is no more then the labor costs in formatting them electronically. Importantly, many times this is no more than $6.50.
Running into Problems under HITECH Act?
When you run into resistance from the medical providers when they refuse to provide the records at a low cost there are remedies. Instead the state attorney general can enforce this particular law as can the Health and Human Services Agency. In order to file a complaint for non compliance you can look to the federal regulations at 45 C.F.R. § 160.404(b). We can also provide one upon inquiry by emailing us or contacting us. Just remember that the law is complex and is a creature of congressional compromise so they may not provide low cost records in all cases and results may vary. Important guidance on the rule can be found here.