One of the most tedious chores accident attorneys in Maryland must perform is the collection of medical records in personal injury cases. How much can health care providers charge Maryland lawyers for copying the medical records? The brief answer: a lot. The Maryland Health-General Annotated Code §4-304 sets for the maximum charges:
- $19.70 as a “preparation fee”
- $0.65 for each page
- The actual cost of the postage
The statute reads $15.00 as a preparation fee and $.50 a page, but fees increase yearly with the consumer price index (thankfully not the cost of health care). And I do not blame them. Many providers will not release the medical records to an accident lawyer until someone pays the fees. But the health care provider cannot refuse to produce the medical records because of an outstanding bill for the care and treatment rendered.
Under Maryland Health-General Annotated Code §4-403, health care providers must maintain medical records for five years. Minors’ medical records may not be destroyed until the patient reaches the age of majority plus three years or for five years after the record or report is made (whichever is later). Interestingly, on their website, Medical Mutual, the leading medical malpractice insurance company in Maryland, suggests that doctors keep their medical records indefinitely. Many Maryland attorneys I have spoken to, also keep their legal files indefinitely.