After reading Teri's SharePost, Your Rights to Your Medical Records, I was reminded of an experience I had trying to obtain my records from a former Internist.
We had just relocated and needed a new doctor, so I asked a friend whose opinion I trusted. My husband and I scheduled an appointment so we could "get a feel" for this doctor and his office.
His staff was very pleasant, accomodating, and best of all, he ran on time! We went into his office, asked our questions, and seemed to be on the same page. However, as time went on, it became clear that this was not a good match for my husband or me. During my appointments, he would read my chart to me, not taking a partnership approach to my health care. It became apparent that he didn't have a clue how to handle my Migraines and head pain, or a desire to figure out what else was going on with me. Time to "fire his sorry butt!"
When I called to say I'd like a copy of my medical records, the whole tone of our relationship changed. "Why do you want your records?" Why don't you want to see him anymore?" They actually asked these questions as if I had no right to: a) get MY records, and b) switch doctors. This promptly sent me into orbit, but I held my tongue. Then I politely asked again for a copy of my records. The receptionist actually said she would have to get back to me!!
Two days later I received a letter saying it would cost eighty-eight dollars, yes that's $88.00, to get my records. I know I have a thick file, but please, it isn't the Holy Bible. I called my former doctor's office and asked why it would cost so much. Their reply was stunning. It was expensive, took manpower and time to copy, find and then refile my records. Seriously? Did they have to go into the "Cave of Wonders" to get my records? So if I wanted them, please send in a check and THEN you can have your records.
Feeling very frustrated, I called my new doctor, whom we love, and explained the situation. The response I got was amazing. "Don't worry honey, we'll call him and get your records for you." What a relief I didn't have to shell out all that money for something that belonged to me. Now that we are situated with our new doctor, it became really clear the "old" one wasn't for us.
At first I wanted to go toe to toe with my former doctor. HIPPA states that we can be charged "reasonable, cost-based fees." There wasn't a thing reasonable about $88.00 for my records. How dare he charge that much for information that belongs to me? Doesn't he know the HIPPA laws? Where does he get off charging patients that kind of money? But I decided to take the higher road and let it go. I got my records transfered in the end and that is all that really matters. And our new doctor gives me any record I ask for. Now that's a good doctor-patient relationship.
Published On: December 12, 2007