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We are living through a period of sharp inflation in almost everything from food and gasoline to automobiles and airfare, but one area where costs are sharply declining in New Jersey pertains to the cost of getting copies of medical records. Governor Phil Murphy signed S 2253 on September 22, 2022. This legislation dramatically lowers the costs that hospitals and physicians can charge for providing copies of medical records.
We begin first with a key definition. The bill refers to a “Legally authorized representative.” That means the patient’s spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner; the patient’s immediate next of kin; the patient’s legal guardian; the patient’s attorney; the patient’s automobile insurer; or the patient’s worker’s compensation carrier, if the carrier is authorized to access to the patient’s treatment or billing records by contract or law, provided that access by a worker’s compensation carrier shall be limited only to that portion of the treatment or billing record that is relevant to the specific work-related incident at issue in the worker’s compensation claim.
Here are the allowable fees for a legally authorized representative under the new law:
“Authorized third party” means a third party, who is not a legally authorized representative of the patient, with a valid authorization, subpoena, legal process, or court order granting access to a patient’s medical or billing records.
Here are the allowable fees for authorized third parties under the new law:
Before passage of this new legislation, providers could charge $1 per page up to $125 for copies plus a search fee up to $25. The new $50 cap represents a significant cost reduction. Workers’ compensation practitioners need to know about this legislation because it has been routine to obtain requests for records that amount to hundreds of dollars. The law is so new that medical providers and hospitals may not even be aware of the changes.
Our thanks to Francine Viden, our firm’s excellent librarian, for obtaining the information and organizing the salient changes in the law.
John H. Geaney, Esq., is a Shareholder and Co-Chair in Capehart Scatchard's Workers’ Compensation Group. Mr. Geaney concentrates his practice in the representation of employers, self-insured companies, third-party administrators, and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act. Should you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Mr. Geaney at 856.914.2063 or by e‑mail at email@example.com.