Office FAQ: Request for Medical Records

May I refuse to transfer or give copies of a medical record for a patient with an outstanding balance for medical services?

No. It's unethical and illegal. The law does not authorize any practitioner to withhold copies of the medical record until the fees for medical services themselves have been paid.

Under the unprofessional and immoral conduct regulations:
"Failing to make available to the patient or to another designated health care practitioner, upon a patient's written request, the medical record or a copy of the medical record relating to the patient which is in the possession or under the control of the physician is unethical."
You may choose to charge for the medical record copies, according to Act 26 guidelines. You can request payment of these fees before turning copies over to a patient or other authorized person. Before refusing to release medical record copies pending payment, keep in mind the health status of your patient.

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