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Foster Introduces Legislation to Simplify Access to Medical Records

Dec 14, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – This week, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced H.R. 7295, the Medical Records Access Fairness Act. The bill would require health care providers to give patients access to their medical records at no cost once per year if they need them. According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, fees that doctor offices may charge patients can impose an unnecessary financial burden on patients who request them, potentially affecting patient care adversely. Patients who have long medical histories can incur costs of thousands of dollars depending on the fees associated with medical record copies. The study also describes a situation in which one patient was charged over $100 for an electronic copy.

“Access to medical records is an essential component of ensuring patients get the best possible health care,” said Foster. “Fees charged by providers for medical records vary drastically by state, and some state laws, including in Illinois, allow providers to charge a per-page fee for records access. These costs can quickly become prohibitive, especially for patients with chronic diseases or complex medical histories. This common-sense bill would allow patients to access their medical records for free up to once a year, removing an unreasonable financial barrier to health care. It will go a long way to improve the health and well-being of Americans.”

The Medical Records Access Fairness Act is supported by the Chronic Disease Coalition, the National MS Society, the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Text of the legislation is available here.