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I asked for my records and the Doctor said I have to pay a huge processing fee. Can he do that?


A: In NY you are entitled to obtain copies of your medical records from your treating doctor. In fact, the doctor is obligated to give you a copy. Technically, they are YOUR records. However, the doctor is obligated to keep and maintain the original set of your medical records for a total of 7 years.

If you want a copy, you must fill out a permission slip, known as a HIPPA authorization form. That form gives him permission to release a copy of your own records to you or anyone else you choose.

You must then pay copying costs for those records. New York law permits the doctor to charge up to 25 cents per page. They cannot charge a processing fee or a handling fee.

In a recent case involving an 89 year old man who asked for copies of his records from his FDNY surgeon, the doctor charged the man $100. The man was furious since copying costs should only have been $33. The surgeon’s office decided to tack on a processing fee of $66. This was not permitted.

Still, the doctor’s office was adamant. “You want your records, pay us another $66.” Well, this 89 year old took the doctor to task and filed a grievance with the FDNY. They investigated and determined that the elderly patient was right.

What did they do?

After a hearing, they fined the doctor $10,000 for violating this simple rule. What made it more egregious was that the doctor was not a bit remorseful even after being shown the law and still demanded a processing fee for the time his secretary had to get and copy the patient’s records.

“FDNY Surgeon Fined $10,000 for Charging Patient $66!”