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Can Doctors Charge for Copying Medical Records?

by Edward Leigh, Patient Communications Expert
August 23, 2018

Question: My doctor charges me a fee for copying my medical records. Is that allowed?

Answer: Thank you for writing.

Yes, it is completely allowable to charge for copying medical records. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Omnibus Rule, "allows for the identification of labor costs for copying protected health information, whether in paper or electronic form, which can include a reasonable cost-based fee for time spent creating and copying the file.” The laws for copying medical records vary from state to state based on the statute passed by each state's legislation. Below is a link with the current fees for each state.

You can obtain a portion of your medical records at no cost via a patient portal. A patient portal is a secure online website that gives you convenient 24-hour access to a portion of your personal health information and medical records. You can print any items on the portal.  Ask your healthcare professional if a patient portal is available.  

Thank you again for writing. My best to you.

Edward Leigh, MA, focuses on helping patients and healthcare professionals effectively communicate with each other. Excellent communication skills dramatically enhance patient satisfaction and safety. He presents high-energy and informative programs for hospitals, healthcare associations, medical practices, government organizations and universities. He is also an in-demand consultant and coach. He has a master’s degree in health education.

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