Can a doctor hold medical records if he is owed a huge amount of money?
7 attorney answers
Not legally. It also is a violation of the AMA ethics rules.. It would also be a HIPAA violation.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
A patient has the right to examine and copy their own medical records. A patient may also sign an authorization for their treating physician to obtain the medical records. A physician may NOT deny a patient access to their records simply because they have not paid for the services rendered. However, the health care provider may charge for the reasonable costs associated with copying and mailing the records.
No, you have a right to your medical records, regardless of your outstanding bill. They can legally charge you for copying the records though.
No. Your right to your medical records have nothing to do with money owed. You and/or your legal representative should be able to get them.
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No. Doctors have a duty on the request of a patient or the patient’s representative to release a copy of the record in a timely manner to the patient or the patient’s representative, unless the doctor believes that such release would endanger the patient’s life or cause harm to another person. Additionally, medical records should not be withheld because an account is overdue or a bill is owed (including charges for copies or summaries of medical records). I would suggest demanding the release of your records in writing within a reasonable amount of time. You may want to contact the North Carolina Medical Board to file a complaint against the provider or to see if they can be of informal assistance in resolving the matter.
This information is provided for general purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created with the furnishing of this information. Attorney licensed in North Carolina only.
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