The cost of Medical Records

Most of us think we are part owner of our medical records. Many are shocked to learn the high price we’re expected to pay to get copies of these documents that somehow seem rightfully ours in the first place!

Kathy Parks made the unfortunate discovery when her father died.
Here’s what she wrote:

“My father passed away at Methodist Hospital in April. I needed to request the medical records so I did that in the appropriate manner. I was informed that the first (10) pages were $59.95 and the following pages were $1.33 each. His chart was 900 pages thick! The documents cost me over $1300.00. Cash or Checks only. They should be exposed for this ridiculous expense they are charging people.”

We did some checking and found the charges (however wrong it may be) are legal according to standards set by the State Legislature.

If you’re requesting records from a hospital the Texas Dept. of State Health Services Hospital Licensing Division can give you all the details. It regulates Texas hospitals. Here’s that agency’s site: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/hfp/default.shtm

And here is the “Maximum Fees Allowed for Providing Health Care Info:
http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/hfp/pdf/feeinfo.pdf

But if you need to get copies of your records from a doctor, the rates are different, Doctors are regulated by the Texas Board of Medical Examiners. The Board has sets out the rates and directions for obtaining your records from a doctor here:
http://www.tmb.state.tx.us/consumers/faq/mrec.php

By the way, both agencies take complaints about doctors and hospitals not following the proper guidelines, either over charging or taking too long to provide copies of your records.

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