We have great news: there could be huge cost savings for our clients at Christmas Law Firm! Christmas Law Firm has been working to get Third Party Co., a company that handles medical providers’ medical records, to charge HITECH fees rather than hard copy fees for requested medical records. This would drastically cut case and settlement costs for clients.
Previously, personal injury attorneys retrieved hard copies of their clients’ medical records through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) – a process that could cost thousands of dollars. Now, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009 allows individuals and their attorneys to obtain medical records in electronic form as long as their covered entity maintains electronic health records.
There are many benefits to the HITECH Act. It is considerably simpler to file a request for a client’s medical records than through HIPAA authorization. To file with the HITECH Act, an attorney files the request in writing, has their client sign the request, identifies themselves as the client’s attorney, and lists the address where the medical records should be sent. Another advantage of the HITECH Act is that the healthcare entity must respond within 30 days, expediting the entire process.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the HITECH Act is that the fees for obtaining electronic medical records cannot exceed a $6.50 labor fee plus a $5.00 flat fee for the certification of records and any applicable taxes. Meaning, if a client or their attorney request the medical records in the electronic form, they cannot be billed for the hard copies of the records. This is a federal act that applies throughout the United States as long as the covered entity uses electronic health records (EHR). However, there are a few exclusions. One of the exclusions is psychotherapy notes, which cannot be retrieved by an individual or their attorney.
At Christmas, having companies use the HITECH Act is important to us as it is a great advantage for our clients, saving them considerable amounts of money and making the process simpler overall.