By Richard H. Adler, Attorney at Law
The Uniform Health Care Information Act (HCIA) went into effect on July 28, 1991. This law regulates access to medical records by health care providers, health care facilities, patients, and others. It also mandates the maximum charges that providers may charge for providing copies of those records. The HCIA was amended in 1993 to define reasonable copying charges for medical records to be a $15 flat fee for clerical searching and handling, 65¢ per page for the first 30 pages of records, and 50¢ per page after the 30th page.
Of particular note, the 1993 amendment allows the legislature to adjust copy charges every 2 years to compensate for inflation. The changes are determined by the consumer price index as calculated by the Washington State Secretary of Health, pursuant to RCW 70.02.010 (12). And guess what? Changes have recently been made to the definition of reasonable copy charges.
Effective July 27, 2015, reasonable fees for duplicating health care records are as follows:
- The maximum flat fee for clerical searching and handling is increased from $24.00 to $25.00;
- A maximum per page charge of $1.09 for each of the first 30 pages is increased to $1.12 for each of the first 30 pages; and
- A maximum per page charge of .82 cents for each page after the 30th page is increased from .84 cents for each page after the 30th
This new rate for copying medical records will remain in effect for two years through the mid-part of 2017. Thereafter, the copy charges will once again be adjusted by the Washington State Department of Health.