Widow of HealthAlliance patient sues hospital, EHR vendor for not releasing husband's medical records  

The widow of a former lung cancer patient at HealthAlliance Hospital is suing the Kingston, N.Y.-based hospital and its EHR vendor, Ciox Health, for allegedly withholding her deceased husband's medical records, according to the Times Herald-Record

Sherry Russel recently filed the lawsuit against HealthAlliance Hospital, part of Valhalla, N.Y.-based Westchester Medical Center Health Network, and Ciox Health, claiming that the EHR vendor will not release her deceased husband's electronic medical records. 

Ms. Russel said she needs the records for a separate malpractice lawsuit against the hospital that her attorney must file by Sept. 11 to comply with the state's statute of limitations. Ms. Russel's husband died in October 2019. She said she specifically needs records from March 2017 that she claims include a chest X-ray report showing a HealthAlliance Hospital radiologist missed a lung tumor that other medical practitioners did not identify until a year later when it grew to 2 inches in diameter. 

Both Westchester Medical Center Health Network and Ciox Health spokespeople told the publication they could not comment on pending litigation. 

Ms. Russel's attorney, John Fisher, is seeking class-action status for Ms. Russel's new medical records lawsuit because he said he has more than a dozen clients who are also trying to get electronic medical records from HealthAlliance Hospital, with no success. Ciox Health manages the hospital's medical record requests, and Ms. Russel claims both the vendor and the hospital have been "as unresponsive and as difficult to deal with as possible," during the records request process. 

Ms. Russel's lawsuit states that Ciox Health has responded to her a few times but has insisted they can only provide paper records, which they must charge $0.75 per page for. Her lawsuit claims that she is entitled to electronic versions of her husband's medical records under the federal HITECH Act of 2009, and, with rare exceptions, no more than $6.50 can be charged for the records. 

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