The 13th Judicial Circuit Court of Hillsborough County recently issued declaratory relief in favor of plaintiff in the case of Barbara Allen vs. Healthport Technologies, LLC.

The May 1 order granted plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment concerning the parties’ rights and obligations concerning allowable fees for copies of medical records. Specifically, the court ruled that defendant Healthport Technologies, a company that offers medical records retrieval and copying services to physicians and medical facilities, could not charge more than allowed by applicable Florida law, irrespective of who the medical records request came from. Healthport contended it was authorized to charge more if the request from a patient’s attorney.

This ruling confirms the current limit on fees for copies of medical records: $1 per page, for the first 25 pages, and 25 cents for each page thereafter.

Allen sued Healthport after her attorney was charged one dollar per page, plus tax and shipping, for all 217 pages of records she requested from her physician.

The court found that a Florida Board of Medicine rule was applicable to Allen’s records request, holding that:

Florida Administrative Code Rule 64B8-10.003(2), when HealthPort receives a patient’s request for copies of his or her medical records, HealthPort is not legally authorized to charge more than $1.00 per page for the first 25 pages and 25¢ per page thereafter, irrespective of whether the patient’s request for copies was delivered, initiated, or made by the patient’s legal representative, as defined by Florida Administrative Code Rule 64B8-10.004, and irrespective of whether the request directed the copies be delivered to the patient’s legal representative.

At issue in this case was Rule 64B8-10.003(2) Florida Administrative Code, which provides (emphasis added):

(1) Any person licensed pursuant to Chapter 458, F.S., required to release copies of patient medical records may condition such release upon payment by the requesting party of the reasonable costs of reproducing the records.
(2) For patients and governmental entities, the reasonable costs of reproducing copies of written or typed documents or reports shall not be more than the following:
(a) For the first 25 pages, the cost shall be $1.00 per page.
(b) For each page in excess of 25 pages, the cost shall be 25 cents.
(3) For other entities, the reasonable costs of reproducing copies of written or typed documents or reports shall not be more than $1.00 per page.
(4) Reasonable costs of reproducing x-rays, and such other special kinds of records shall be the actual costs. The phrase “actual costs” means the cost of the material and supplies used to duplicate the record, as well as the labor costs and overhead costs associated with such duplication.

It should be noted that the May 1 order is subject to further review by the circuit court and appellate courts, and is not binding on other courts.

In addition, it must be noted that there is a separate Florida Statute that governs fees charged by hospitals and other facilities licensed under Chapter 395, Florida Statutes.

If you have any questions about this topic, or would like additional information, please contact a member of Gunster’s health care law practice.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

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