Setting the Record Straight: Medical Records Copy Charges
Around the State
It was very concerning to read Nancy Smith's Monday column in Sunshine State News, "Florida's Medical Records Copy Charges Don't Need to Go Higher."
It is completely false in almost every paragraph. There was no call for comment to the company or representatives, no review of actual Board of Medicine transcripts, and no verification of publicly available documents.
First, there was no "sneaking." A proposed rule clarification has been publicly noticed, reviewed by the board at publicly noticed and publicly attended meetings for over two years. The interested parties have been individually notified and have attended, expressing their opinions. All consumer groups mentioned have been aware of the issue since 2008 and have participated over the last two years.
Second, the medical records company has NOT requested a change in the cost for medical records. The trial lawyers requested the change in fee at more than one of the public hearings. They requested one fee for all requestors and stated the amount did not matter. The medical records company has asked for a clarification relating to the cost for electronic versus paper records because the statute is silent on that issue.
The Board of Medicine unanimously acknowledged that the original rule was adopted before electronic records were created and that issue needed to be expressly addressed in the rule. So, a phrase "in any medium or format" was proposed. The medical records' representative strongly pleaded with the board not to include the request for an increase by the trial lawyer in the same rule change.
Third, the insulting comments by the writer have no place in this situation. The medical records company clearly stated in the record, under oath, that even if the fee change was adopted, the company has a policy that patients will NOT pay the increased fee.
Therefore, even if the board authorizes the increase, the fee will NOT be imposed on patients by the medical records company.
Fourth, the current and the proposed rule states that those economically disadvantaged requestors should not be charged for their records. Also, very few patients are charged due to the federal regulations that do not authorize charges to transfer records for continuity of care.
The attendees at each meeting were informed that the trial lawyers calling them and begging their participation in the hearings had misrepresented the facts before the board and were offered assistance and clarification if needed.
It would be very misleading to state that the elderly are charged hundreds or thousands of dollars for their records.
Fifth, the comparison stating Florida would be one of the top fees is also completely untrue. Many states require an upfront fee that greatly increases the cost per page. The proposed fee, however, would be the same charged by counties, clerks of court, and most other public agencies, even though the actual cost to produce is higher than the fee collected.
While the medical records companies did not request a fee increase, it has been explained numerous times why an updating of the rule is necessary for electronic records. No one has disputed that point.
In the future, it would serve as a professional courtesy to at least call a person for comment before blasting with inaccuracies. Thank you for the opportunity to respond.
Cynthia Henderson is the Tallahassee-based lobbyist for HealthPort Tecnologies LLC, the nation’s largest provider of release of information services and audit management and tracking technology.