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Laws Governing Patient Record Request Fees

March 27, 2019

Laws Governing Patient Record Request Fees

Q. Does Louisiana law set the copy fees for a patient record request?

A. No. Pursuant to Title 45 Section 164.524 of the Federal regulations, a patient or his representative is entitled to a copy of his medical records in the format requested at a reasonable cost based fee which may only include the cost of labor for copying, supplies and postage. The Louisiana statutory fees DO NOT apply to a PATIENT request. Though the Federal regulation does not set a fee, a flat fee of $6.50 for production of records maintained in electronic form is acceptable (otherwise the office can calculate the actual cost of copying, supplies and postage if any). For records maintained as paper, the fee charged by commercial copiers of $0.10 per page is frequently used as an average cost. There can be no fee for locating, verifying, searching or storage of the record. If the patient requests a summary or explanation, a reasonable separate fee may be agreed upon for that service.  

Q. What if the request for records was sent by an attorney on behalf of the patient?

A. A request by a representative of the patient is also billed at the rates above. This includes a request by the plaintiff attorney. It is the position of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that a plaintiff attorney’s request for records, accompanied by an authorization signed by the patient directing records be provided to his attorney, must be billed as above. Louisiana law only governs records requests by third parties, like a defendant healthcare provider in a lawsuit or his attorney. The failure to follow Federal regulations can result in monetary penalties and audits by the OCR. Therefore, when requests for records are received, there needs to be a clear understanding of who is requesting the records before they can be told how much is the charge. 

For questions regarding copy fees for patient record requests, contact LAMMICO's in-house law firm, Schroeder & Trahan, by calling 800.452.2120.

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