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Andrzejczak Introduces Healthcare Consumer Protection Measure

Bill Would Limit How Much Can Be Charged for Copies of Medical Records

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak recently introduced legislation to protect healthcare consumers from exorbitant fees to obtain copies of their own medical records.
“Copies of medical records can become costly very quickly, and often times these are the patients that are already feeling the squeeze from mounting healthcare costs,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “For patients that move or need to switch doctors, requesting copies of medical records can pose an unwanted burden. This change would give New Jersey patients some of the lowest medical record fees in the country.”
Specifically, the bill (A-4611) sets forth the maximum fees that may be charged by hospitals and health care professionals licensed by the state Board of Medical Examiners to provide copies of patient medical records.
If a patient, or the patient’s legally authorized representative, submits a written request for a copy of the patient’s medical record, the hospital or licensed professional would be required to provide the requester with a legible paper or electronic reproduction of the medical record within 30 days.
The record would include all pertinent data, including test results, x-ray results, and subjective information. Hospitals would be required to provide each individual admission record within the dates requested, and licensed professionals would be required to include records from other health care providers that are part of a patient’s record.
In the case of a paper reproduction of a patient’s medical record, the maximum fee for producing the record would be $100, or a copying fee of no more than $0.50 per page plus an administrative fee of no more than $15, whichever is less. In the case of an electronic reproduction of a patient’s medical record, the maximum fee for producing the record would be $50 or the actual cost of reproducing the record, whichever is less.
A hospital or licensed professional would be prohibited from assessing any fees or charges for a copy of a patient’s medical record other than those set forth in the bill. In the case of a hospital, the fees set forth in the bill would apply to each individual admission record provided.
The fees authorized under the bill would not be imposed on: a patient who does not have the ability to pay, as demonstrated by proof of annual income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level or proof of eligibility for, or enrollment in, any state or federal assistance program; a not-for-profit corporation indicating in writing that it is representing a patient; or an attorney who certifies that he or she is representing a patient on a pro bono basis.
The bill was introduced last month and has been referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.