One of the essential patient rights under the HIPAA Privacy Rule is the right to timely access of their medical records. The OCR created The HIPAA Right of Access Initiative to support and enforce this right. This initiative was put into place due to overwhelming concern, and frequent complaints, that Covered Entities (Healthcare Providers and Healthcare Plans) were failing to provide timely access, not providing access at all, or overcharging.
Since the initiative was passed in 2019, the OCR has conducted over 20 investigations resulting in total settlements over 1 million dollars.
What is a reasonable fee?
- The Privacy Rule does allow a practice to charge a reasonable fee when providing a patient with their medical records. This should not be taken to mean a practice can profit from this. The cost should be limited to the expense incurred by the practice in printing/transmitting the records requested, and should never be a barrier to a patient getting their records in a timely manner.
What does this mean for me?
- Your patient has the right to their medical records, and it is your responsibility to make sure that every request for access is treated with the same care, concern, and expediency with which you would treat their medical condition.