2008 Regular Session . June 17, 2008
ACT QUICKLY: Stop Hidden Fees for Medical Records
Yesterday, on SB 332 by Sen. Francis Thompson, the Senate voted to reject a House floor amendment that prohibits medical records providers from charging a patient for certifying the patient’s medical records or from assessing any additional charges beyond those now allowed by R.S. 40:1299.96.
The bill will come back to the Senate from the conference committee for another vote. We don’t know what the conference committee language will be, nor will there be time to contact you with that information. So, contact your Senator now and ask for a vote in favor of prohibiting additional fees for providing medical records.
If your senator voted YES to reject the House amendments, ask him or her to vote to prohibit medical records providers from charging a patient a fee for certifying the patient’s medical records or from assessing any additional charges beyond those set out in R.S. 40:1299.96.
If your senator voted NO on the motion to reject, ask him or her to continue to vote in support of language to protect the rights of patients to receive certified copies of their medical records at the reasonable fees set out in R.S. 40:1299.96.
The House floor amendment rejected by the Senate was originally filed as HB 895 by Rep. Hunter Greene. The bill passed the House without a dissenting vote but died in Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
The House amended the language in Rep. Hunter’s bill onto SB 332. The Senate voted to reject the amendments, sending the issue to conference.
The medical records industry argues that if the statute doesn’t specifically prohibit charging a certification fee, then it is allowed. Already, members are seeing late fees and separate fees for “handling” the billing statement and the medical records. The only limitation under this logic is the ability to develop a new name for a fee. An “enveloping” fee to package the materials for mailing? A “transporting” fee to take the package to the post office? A “refiling” fee for refiling the record after copying?
Session in the Final Stretch
The Legislature must adjourn no later than 6:00 p.m. Monday, June 23. Friday, June 20, at 6:00 p.m. is the deadline to vote for final passage of a bill in the second chamber. The final three days of the session will be devoted to conference committee reports and resolutions.
Stay in Touch
You can view live broadcasts of floor proceedings and some committee hearings through the Internet. Go to the Web portal of the Louisiana State Legislature to see which proceedings are broadcast and get instructions on how to tune in. Use this same link to contact your legislators, access information about bills, check committee schedules and more.Archived broadcasts of House and Senate proceedings are available on their respective Web sites.