GAO Looks at Fees and Challenges Associated with Patients' Access to Medical Records

May 23, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​Some patients may incur what they believe to be excessive fees for accessing their medical records, according to a May 14, 2018, report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Federal law requires providers to give patients access to their medical records, and under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), GAO said, providers may charge a "reasonable, cost-based fee" when patients request copies of their medical records. Some patients with chronic conditions have lengthy records, and copying costs "can be significant," GAO said; some patients are unaware that they can challenge providers who deny access to their records.

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