Patient sues Essentia Health alleging it overcharged for medical records

A Wisconsin resident is suing Duluth, Minn.-based Essentia Health alleging the health system overcharged her for copies of her medical records, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

In 2014, Mary Hills requested a copy of her medical records from Essentia Health. She was billed $22.08 for the retrieval of five pages. In the lawsuit, Ms. Hills claims that the charge was higher than allowed in the state of Wisconsin.

The invoice identified that of the $22.08 bill, $15.95 was a retrieval fee. Ms. Hills is not arguing against the other $6.13. At the time when Ms. Hills requested her medical records, at most a Wisconsin provider could charge was $1 per the first 25 pages.

Ms. Hills is seeking up to $25,000 in damages and hopes to turn her lawsuit into a class-action case.

Essentia Health declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit. However, the health system did argue that it does not qualify as a Wisconsin provider, meaning it does not need to abide by Wisconsin billing rules, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

"We cannot address any specifics on this case due to pending litigation," a spokesperson for the health system told the Duluth News Tribune. "However, Essentia has a value of stewardship that extends to our patients — we believe in reducing costs in healthcare and bringing increased value to our patients and communities."

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