Patients have a right to their own medical records. Medical records provide intimate information about a patient’s health, lifestyle, and medical history. These records cannot be kept from a patient who wants to look at their own medical care. Unfortunately, some patients and their families are getting no help from the medical record companies when asked for a copy of their own records.
Widow’s Lawsuit Against Ciox Records Company
Sherry Russell lost her husband of 42 years due to lung cancer. Her husband, Charles Russell was a retired groundskeeper who found out about a tumor on his lungs after it was 2 inches across and left few options for treatment. The widow is now trying to file a malpractice claim against the medical staff who took a chest X-ray report almost a year earlier who may have been able to give Charles a better chance at recovery.
Medical records provide most of the evidence necessary in a medical malpractice lawsuit. These records show, or are supposed to show, what happened at the time, including:
- Healthcare providers involved,
- Medications administered,
- Vital signs,
- Diagnostic tests, and
- Imaging test results.
A review of the medical records is necessary for a medical expert to give their opinion on the standard of care. Without the evidence in a medical report, the patient, family, and medical experts have little to work with to determine whether another doctor acted negligently.
Sherry Russell has had to file a lawsuit against the medical records company involved in her husband’s care. Ciox Health, a Georgia-based company, is the electronic medical records company used by the HealthAlliance Hospital where Charles was treated. Russel claims Ciox has deprived her of the electronic medical records necessary to file her malpractice claim.
A number of other patients and their families are experiencing similar issues with HealthAlliance and Ciox over being unable to get a copy of electronic medical records. Ciox already has a history of lawsuits related to the company making it overly difficult for patients to get copies of medical records, including charging higher fees than the law allows.
Ciox settled a lawsuit with patients in Wisconsin in 2019. The patients alleged Ciox overcharged for patient medical record requests. Ciox paid more than $35 million to settle the claims.
Patient Access to Electronic Health Records
In 2009, Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). The law was intended to provide incentives for healthcare providers to use electronic health records. The law also provides for a maximum fee for a copy of electronic medical records, including a flat fee option not to exceed $6.50. Records keepers cannot charge fees for retrieving records, handling records, or processing the request for access to records.
In the case above, Russell claims that Ciox said it could not provide electronic copies and could only provide paper copies. Ciox also said a copy of the records on paper would be charged at 75 cents per page. Depending on a patient’s individual situation, healthcare records can run into thousands of pages and often include duplicate copies and records.
Hospital Refusing to Give a Copy of Medical Records
If the hospital or records company is making it difficult to get a copy of your medical records and you suspect a medical error, contact our experienced attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian. To discuss your malpractice injury with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.