• Ohio Law Regulating Charges for Copies of Medical Records Has Been Changed
  • March 8, 2005
  • Law Firm: Dinsmore & Shohl LLP - Cincinnati Office
  • And Made More Complicated

    Effective December 22, 2004, Ohio law regulating how much health care providers may charge for copies of medical records has changed:

    • The new law extends to December 31, 2008 the existing law governing fees for copies of medical records.
    • The new law changes the fees that health care providers and medical records companies may charge for copies of medical records. The fees differ, depending upon who requests the copies.
    • The new law requires the Ohio Director of Health to adjust fees in accordance with the Consumer Price Index not later than January 31, 2006, and requires that the Department of Health make a list of the adjusted fees available on its website.

    The Fees Have Changed; What's More, They Now Depend On Who Requests the Copies

    Before this latest change, the maximum charge was the same regardless of who requested the copies.

    The Old Fee Schedule. The "old" fee schedule was:

    • An search fee of $15.00; plus
    • Per page copy charges for paper records:
      • Pages 1 through 10: $1.00 per page
      • Pages 11 through 50: $.50 per page
      • Pages 51 and higher: $.20 per page

      Plus

    • Per page copy charges for records not maintained on paper: the actual cost of making the copy

      Plus

    • The actual cost of any related postage.

    The New Fee Schedule

    Now, health care providers need to know who requests the copies. The new law creates a distinction between a patient's "personal representative" and a patient's "authorized person."

    • A patient's "personal representative" means a minor patient's parent or other person acting in loco parentis, a court-appointed guardian, or a person with durable power of attorney for health care for a patient, the executor or administrator of the patient's estate, or the person responsible for the patient's estate if it is not to be probated.
    • A patient's "authorized person" means a person to whom a patient has given written authorization to act on the patient's behalf regarding the patient's medical record.

    The new law also makes it clear that, unless agreed to in writing, the new fee schedule applies to copies that an insurance company requests from a health care provider.

    The new schedule is:

    If copies are requested by:The patient or the patient's "personal representative" Anyone other than the patient or the patient's "personal representative" -- i.e., the patient's "authorized person" or the patient's insurance company
    Search FeeNone$15.35
    Paper Records:  
    First ten pages:$2.50 per page$1.02 per page
    Pages 11 through 50:$.51 per page$.51 per page
    Pages 51 and higher:$.20 per page$.20 per page
    Data Not Recorded on Paper:$1.70 per page$1.70 per page
    The actual cost of any related postage:YesYes

    Who is Entitled to Free Copies?

    The new law retains the existing requirement that one free copy must be provided to the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, the Ohio Industrial Commission, and the Ohio Attorney General.

    Old law required that a health care provider had to provide the patient or the patient's representative one free copy if the copy is necessary to support a claim for Social Security benefits and if a copy of the claim accompanied the request for the copy of the medical records.

    New law continues this practice -- but only if the patient requests the copy or if the patient's "personal representative" requests the copy. A patient's "authorized person" is not entitled to a free copy to support a claim for Social Security benefits.

    Can Health Care Providers Negotiate Different Fees for Copies?

    The new law makes it clear that health care providers can enter into contracts with patients, "personal representatives," "authorized persons," and insurance companies to make copies for fees that differ from those in the fee schedule. If an insurance company does not negotiate in writing for a different fee, then the new fee schedule applies.