Lawsuit Alleges Hospitals, IT Firm Overcharged for Medical Records
May 7, 2014 in News
Three New York hospitals and a health IT firm are being sued for allegedly violating the state’s public health law regarding the fees associated with medical record requests, Healthcare IT News reports.
Details of Lawsuit
A group of plaintiffs — representing about 100 members — filed a class-action lawsuit against HealthPort Technologies, as well as three hospitals:
- Beth Israel Medical Center;
- Montefiore Medical Group; and
- Mount Sinai Hospital.
The plaintiffs said that the four entities overcharged patients and customers by up to 50 cents per page. According to Healthcare IT News, New York law states that:
- The cost of medical records cannot be more than 75 cents per page; and
- The cost of medical records may not be more than the actual cost of production.
According to the lawsuit, customers were charged 75 cents per page, but the cost of creating each page only amounted to 25 cents.
In 2013, HealthPort received and processed more than 14 million pages of medical records for lawyers in New York. If the charges in the lawsuit are true, HealthPort overcharged for its services by about $7 million annually for cases related to attorney requests, Healthcare IT News reports.
Potential HIPAA Violation
According to Healthcare IT News, the organizations may have also violated HIPAA.
Under the law, health care providers and businesses can only charge a “reasonable cost-based fee” for the handling and processing of medical records. Specifically, HIPAA states, “If a state permits a charge of 25 cents per page, but a covered entity is able to provide an electronic copy at a cost of five cents per page, then the covered entity may not charge more than five cents per page (since that is the reasonable and cost-based amount)” (McCann, Healthcare IT News, 5/5).