At its Jan. 16 meeting, the Board of Governors unanimously approved the Litigation Section's request to support the proposed Department of Health and Family Services' (DHFS) Rule 117 setting the maximum fees health care providers can charge for reproducing patient health care records, regardless of whether a lawsuit has been commenced.
Board supports proposed rule capping medical records copy fees
At its Jan. 16 meeting, the Board of Governors unanimously approved
the Litigation Section's request to support the proposed Department of
Health and Family Services' (DHFS) Rule 117 setting the maximum fees
health care providers can charge for reproducing patient health care
records, regardless of whether a lawsuit has been commenced.
The Legislature directed the DHFS to develop the rule as part of 2001
Wisconsin Act 109 in response to concerns that health care providers
were charging excessive fees for photocopying patients' records. While
administrative rules set a uniform fee of $8.40 or 45 cents per page,
whichever is greater, for obtaining copies of medical records when an
action has been commenced, the sky is the limit for fees charged for
records reproduced outside of litigation.
"The current cost to medical records requesters can be astronomical
and often bears little or no relationship to the actual cost to
duplicate the records," Litigation Section member Michael Davis,
Madison, told the board. "Health care providers contract with a copy
service providers who determine the fees. Charges often vary from 85 to
95 cents per page, plus retrieval fees, processing fees, postage,
shipping, and handling. One page can cost as much as $25; two or three
pages can cost $30."
The rule contemplates a two-tiered fee structure, depending on who is
asking for the health care records. Under the proposed rule, a provider
may charge no more than 31 cents per page if an individual is requesting
his or her own records or if a personal representative is making the
request on the individual's behalf. "Personal representative" does not
include an attorney. If a person is requesting another's records, the
provider cannot charge more than $12.50 per request for less than five
pages and not more than $15 per request for five or more pages. In
addition to these fixed retrieval fees, a provider can charge up to 31
cents per page.
The public comment period on the proposed rule closed on Dec. 31. The
DHFS has an opportunity to make revisions to the rule before sending it
to the Legislature for its approval.
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