South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) last week signed into law a bill (R328) that caps how much providers can charge patients for digital copies of their health records, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.
The bill replaces a 1992 state law that allowed hospitals to charge high fees to produce paper copies of records. Hospitals had been relying on the law, which was written before the use of electronic health records became widespread, to calculate per-page costs for digital copies of patients’ medical records (Sausser, Charleston Post and Courier, 6/30).
The law prohibits providers from charging patients more than $150 for digital copies of their health records, regardless of the number of pages of information or how many times a patient has been admitted to a particular health care facility (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 6/30).
Specifically, the bill states that the charge “shall be calculated as follows: sixty-five cents per page for the first thirty pages provided in an electronic format and fifty cents per page for all other pages provided in an electronic format, plus a clerical fee not to exceed $25 for searching and handling, which combined with the per page costs may not exceed a total of $150 per request, and to which may be added actual postage and applicable sales tax” (Harrell et al., R328, 6/23).
In addition, the law caps the amount providers can charge for paper copies of health records at $200 per admission, reducing the cost burden on patients who receive care at hospitals that are unable to create digital copies or electronically transfer patient data (EHR Intelligence, 6/30).