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 short 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 actually 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). Not surprisingly and I do not blame them, many providers will not release the medical records to an accident lawyer until the fee has been paid. 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. Medical records for minors 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 web site, Medical Mutual, the leading medical malpractice insurance company in Maryland, suggest that doctors keep their medical records indefinitely. Many Maryland attorneys I have spoken to also maintain their legal files indefinitely.