Thank you all for the thoughtful responses regarding a patient who is attempting to get her records and an O & P practice who refuses to release the records. The practice has made her jump through the hoops of filling out a request (a form that the O&P company itself provided to her). What baffles the patient (and me) the most is that this company has a form with their logo and information at the top which means they have a formal process for asking the patient to sign a form to request her information. While having a formal process in place to accomplish this, they have unapologetically stated to her as well as my office staff that even though she has filled out the paperwork they provided her they will not be releasing her records. Why make her jump through the hoop of filling out the form if you do not intend on releasing the records? In several of the responses, Iâ€™ve gathered that there are reasons to deny the request, but if they do, they must provide the reason. They have not done this. The patient is nearly 4 months into the process. I posted the responses below and there were quite a few with tons or great information and website links, resources etc. If you would rather not read them all Iâ€™ve summarized the gist of it with the 9 key points that seemed to be recurring responses below.
1. It seems most people agree the records are hers to have in the form of a copy, but maybe not the originals.
2. They may or may not charge her a fee to process the copies depending on the state.
3. Or if she cannot get the physical copies, she has a right to at least inspect them at any time.
4. The company is in violation of HiPAA regs.
5. The company is violating one or more ABC standards
6. There are a variety of places she can complain, CMS, HHS, private insurance, state ombudsman, ABC, insurance commission, etc.
7. She should go in person and demand them on the spot.
8. Below I highlighted one response in Blue that seemed rather knowledgable, and contrary to popular belief stating that the records are not hers but rather property of the company and they are not obligated to hand them over unless subpoenaed.
9. General consensus that this uncalled for with these adjectives and descriptions: this type behavior is immature, unprofessional, non-cooperative, rotten, ridiculous, gives the field a bad name, etc. etc.
Thanks again everyone. I attempted to post all of the responses, but the server rejected. The limit is 300 lines. There were 870 lines of responses, so I only posted the one knowledgable response that was not the consensus below.
Before my life in O&P, I processed record requests for doctors and hospitals across the great Charleston, SC area as an independent rep for, then Smart Document Solutions, now HealthPort. Is this company’s behavior unprofessional, yes. Is it unethical, not really. The records are not the patient’s records. The records are about her services received, as provided by O&P Company “X”. As a courtesy, they can transfer records to either her or you, with or without charge, but those records are the property of Company ‘X,” as far as I know. Unless subpoenaed or it is explicitly stated in their release of information, they are not required to release the records. I hope this helps. That’s a rotten thing to do to someone and a rotten thing to deal with.
Thank you Everyone who responded. If you really want to read them all. Iâ€™ve saved them in a word document and Iâ€™d be happy to share them with you if you are interested.
Chris Fairman, CPO / Co-Owner
Great Lakes Prosthetics & Orthotics