Personal injury attorneys in the state of South Carolina order medical records and medical bills in just about every automobile accident or injury case they have. In this article, it explains the laws that deal with medical records in South Carolina which includes whether a doctor has to give you your medical records, how to get your medical records, the cost of your medical records, and what medical records you’re entitled to.
Is There a Law In South Carolina That the Doctor Has to Give Me Medical Records?
Yes, the Federal law states under HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). You are also entitled to them under the South Carolina law, in the specific Section of 44-115-10 through 44-115-160 of the Code of Laws (the Physicians’ Patient Records Act). A more exact answer would be that under South Carolina law, the physician or doctor does own the records, but the patient is also entitled to copies of the records.
How Does One Obtain Their Medical Records in South Carolina?
The simplest way to get your medical records is to just call the billing office for your doctor’s office or hospital and ask what their preferred procedure is. There are some that may accept an email request. While others may request that you fax or mail the request to them. Another way is you can always just go down to their office and order them. However, they may not be able to produce them right there on the spot, they may have to be mailed to you.
Something to know is that they will ask you to sign a written authorization to obtain said records. Make sure you read the authorization very carefully. They could try to put extra language in there that could potentially create a lien against your personal injury case if you happen to have one. If the authorization has anything in it that does anything more than anything but giving authority to copy and produce the records, you will probably want to have a lawyer review it and possibly use a different authorization altogether.
How Much Do Medical Records Cost in South Carolina?
South Carolina law gives the maximums to the doctors that they may charge for searching and copying the records. They almost always charge the maximum. These maximum copy costs are:
- A flat rate $25.00 administrative fee with the copy costs.
- If you are getting electronic copies, the medical provider could charge up to $0.65 per
page for the first 30 pages and then $0.50 for each additional page that may be printed,
and the total cost can’t be more than $150.00 per request.
- If you are getting paper copies, the medical provider could charge up to $0.65 per page
for the first 30 pages and $0.50 for each additional page printed, and the total cost can’t be more than $150.00 per request.
- Postage and applicable sales tax may apply.
These amounts may be adjusted accordingly due to increases in the Consumer Price Index and calculated by DHEC. The doctor is also allowed to ask for payment upfront. However, there is no cost if the records are given to a doctor from a referring doctor for the continuance of medical
treatment. The doctor may also charge the actual cost of copying an X-ray, which may include materials, supplies, labor, and overhead.
What Medical Records Are You Entitled to in South Carolina?
You are entitled to just about any record that is associated with your treatment, also including the medical bills. However, a medical provider may choose to only release a summary or portion of the record instead of the whole record. This may happen if a doctor reasonably believes that release of the information contained in the entire record could harm the patient’s emotional or physical well-being. With that being said, the emotional or physical well-being of another person who has given information about the patient to the physician, or where the release of the information is otherwise prohibited by law. However, in this situation they still must give the entire record to your lawyer or to an insurance company in specific situations. When there is an unreasonable refusal to release the entire medical record, it could cause a sanction against the doctor by the Board of Medical Examiners.
Can I Still Get My Records If I Haven’t Fully Paid My Bill?
Yes, the South Carolina law specifically says so.
How Long Does It Take to Get Medical Records in South Carolina?
The South Carolina law does not give any specific deadline. Usually, the records come within a few weeks after our sent request for them. Hospitals usually tend to take a little longer than doctors’ offices. On occasion, we must follow up a few times with the medical provider, and in rare instances, we even have to threaten civil action. We’ve never been unable to obtain and secure the records, as the law is on your side.
How Long Will a Doctor Hold Medical Records in South Carolina?
A doctor will hold medical records for ten years for adults and thirteen years for minors. The time starts after the last date of treatment. After said time period expires, the doctor can destroy the records.
Are Medical Records Private?
Yes, the HIPAA Privacy Rule requires medical providers to implement systems and safeguards in their offices to ensure that patient information is not released to anyone other than the patient or someone who the patient has authorized. It is not just records; doctors and their staff can’t talk about your case with anyone besides you and anyone you have authorized.
Do I Need My Records If I’ve Been Injured in an Accident?
In every personal injury or automobile accident case you need your medical records, to prove the damages. To potentially get reimbursed for you medical bills, you need to provide the complete list of every medical bill involved in treatment from said accident. The medical records help prove the nature of your injury, the specific treatment you had to get, and the pain and suffering you may have endured due to said injuries.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, contact Attorney Trey Harrell at 843.636.TREY Additionally, it costs you nothing to retain Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney for auto accident case because we will handle your case on a contingency fee. This means that you will owe nothing if we are unable to get you compensation.
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Disclaimer: Information in this blog is intended for informative purposes only and not legal advice. Please consult with a licensed attorney before you make any decisions on legal matters. Further, viewing of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney. Matters will be handled by an attorney who primarily practice out of our office in Charleston County located at 2000 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Charleston, SC 29407. Robert W. “Trey” Harrell, III is the attorney responsible for this posting.