Health care costs in the United States are rising at an alarming pace. Millions of Americans cannot afford adequate health care. Adding insult to injury, Ohio authorizes doctors, hospitals and medical records services to charge us for OUR medical records! Ohio permits our health care providers and copying services to charge us as much as $2.74 per page so we can access the personal and private information in our own medical records! Specifically, under Ohio law we may be charged as much as $2.74 per page for the first 10 ten pages, $0.57 for pages 11 – 50, and $0.23 per page for pages 51 and higher. Data recorded other than on paper is charged at $1.87 per page. Additionally, we must foot the bill for postage.
The federal Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA), which trumps any conflicting state laws, only allows medical providers to charge us a “cost-based” fee for copying our medical records, and postage for mailing. Indeed, pursuant to a formula created by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, which computes the cost of copying records, medical providers may only charge Medicare $0.12 per page. See Medicare Program’s Photocopying Reimbursement Methodology – http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2003/pdf/03-30096.pdf. According to the federal government’s formula then, the “cost” of photocopying medical records is no more than $0.12.
Even for profit photocopying services charge us significantly less than we our billed in Ohio. Give Kinko’s a call. They will make you a black and white photocopy for $.08. You can get color copies for $.049. Keep in mind Kinko’s is in the business of making money and thriving by charging us a fraction of what Ohio law permits medical providers to charge.
Given the high price of medical care, haven’t we already paid enough? One would think that the exorbitant amounts we pay for medical care would include the minimal cost of making photocopies so we can access our medical information. Unfortunately, the powerful health-care industry and its lobbyists don’t think so. Even more unfortunate, our legislature seems to agree with them.
Given the objective data concerning the “cost” of making photocopies, only one answer comes to mind when contemplating why we pay as much as $2.74 for a photocopy of a medical record: profit. Ohio’s fee schedule for medical records is clearly not “cost-based.” Rather, it is profit-based and thus, likely illegal under HIPPA.
For more information about this issue visit Joseph C. Sommer’s website http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/, where he comments on the history of the Ohio Bills authorizing these exorbitant fees, which line the pockets of the helath-care industry while limiting our right of access to our medical records http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/Ohio_Medical_Records.htm