Patients file lawsuit against 2 D.C. hospitals, alleging excessive fees to obtain electronic records

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and George Washington University Hospital, both based in D.C., are being sued by three patients who allege they were charged excessively and illegally to obtain copies of their EMRs, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Within the same month, one of the plaintiffs sent MedStar a letter requesting his EMR for a treatment he received and the other two plaintiffs requested copies of their child's EMR, including billing records and imaging studies. HealthPort, a third-party contractor for MedStar, responded to the requests with invoices exceeding $1,000 for per-page copying fees, according to the suit.

The lawsuit says D.C. law permits patients to obtain copies of their medical records within 30 days for a "reasonable fee", and only medical providers can charge fees associated with labor costs for preparing and sending the records.

MedStar Georgetown officials said in an emailed statement to Washington Business Journal the system does not set fees for medical record requests. "Our vendor, HealthPort, ensures the compliant exchange of protected health information for our hospital through its qualified, HIPAA-certified staff. The fees associated with medical record requests are set by HealthPort and include options for both paper and electronic records. We are confident that HealthPort adheres to appropriate industry standards in setting fees," reads the statement.

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