How to get own your medical records in South Carolina

March 8, 2019

As personal injury attorneys in Charleston, South Carolina, we order medical records and medical bills in just about every automobile accident or injury case we have. In this article, we explain the laws on medical records in South Carolina including how to get your medical records, how much to expect your medical records to cost, how long it takes to get your medical records, whether a doctor has to give you your medical records, which medical records you are entitled to, and more. Does a Doctor Have to Give Me My Medical Records in South Carolina? Yes. Federal law says so under HIPAA (short for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). You also are entitled to them under South Carolina law, specifically Section 44-115-10 through 44-115-160 of our Code of Laws (called the Physicians’ Patient Records Act). A more technical answer is that under South Carolina law, the physician/doctor owns the records, but the patient is entitled to copies. How Do I Get My Medical Records in South Carolina? The easiest way is to just call the billing office for your doctor or hospital and ask what their preferred procedure is. Some may accept an email request. Some may request you fax or mail in the request.  An alternative is that you can always just go down to the office and order them, but they may not be able to produce them right there on the spot. Know that they will ask you to sign a written authorization to obtain the records. Read the authorization carefully. They may try to put extra language in there that could create a lien against your personal injury case if you have one. Our personal injury lawyers never grant liens voluntarily, although in certain instances we have to. If the authorization has anything in it that does anything more than giving the authority to copy and produce the records, you probably want to have a lawyer review it and perhaps even use a different authorization altogether. How Long Does It Take to Get My Medical Records in South Carolina? The law does not give a deadline for medical record requests.  Ordinarily, our office receives the records back within a few weeks of our request.  Medical and billing requests to Hospitals tend to take a little longer than smaller clinics. Occasionally, we have to follow up multiple times with the medical provider, and in rare instances, we have to threaten civil action.  We have never been unable to ultimately secure the records, as the law is on your and our side. Why Do Medical Records Cost So Much in South Carolina? South Carolina law gives the maximums that doctors may charge for searching for and copying the records. In our lawyers’ experience, they almost always charge the maximum. These maximum copy costs are: A flat $25.00 administrative fee for searching and handling plus the duplication costs. If you are getting electronic copies, the medical provider may charge up to $0.65 per page for the first 30 pages and $0.50 for each additional page, and the total cost can’t be more than $150.00 per request. If you are […]

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