Can a provider charge a medical records requestor a fee when there are no records? 

Can a provider charge a medical records requestor a fee when there are no records? There is no clear answer to this question.

A client was served with a subpoena for medical records, but the patient in question did not have a record (i.e., had not been a patient). The provider’s ROI company responded with a letter stating that there was no patient and invoiced for a processing fee and postage. The lawyer responded that the fee was illegal under the section of R.S. 40:1165.1 which states that “the health care provider … shall not charge any other fee which is not specifically authorized by the provisions of this Subparagraph…” 

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CMS Issues New  No Surprises Act FAQS on Good Faith Estimates and the Overall Requirements and Exceptions for Healthcare Providers

On April 6, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued two new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guidance documents on the requirements of the No Surprises Act (NSA) that addressed a provider’s obligation to provide a Good Faith Estimate for uninsured and self-pay patients, and certain NSA requirements and exceptions.  CMS also announced plans to launch an online portal through which uninsured and self-pay patients may initiate the Independent Dispute Resolution Process.

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HHS PROPOSED RULE IMPLEMENTS NEW AIR AMBULANCE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Due to the air ambulance market that frequently results in surprise bills, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a proposed rule that requires plans, issuers of individual health insurance coverage, and providers of air ambulance services to submit detailed data regarding air ambulance services specified in the reporting requirements of the “No Surprises Act.”   The proposed rule also allows HHS to collect data related to market trends and costs in an effort to address air ambulance expenses.

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An Overview of the New Rural Emergency Hospital Medicare Designation

Over 135 rural hospitals have closed since 2010 with hundreds more identified as vulnerable based on performance levels. Despite the challenge’s rural facilities face, access to emergency services and higher-level outpatient services are necessary. A new model for rural hospitals developed by Congress aims to provide an alternative model for these hospitals.

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HHS Releases New Requirements Related to Surprise Billing

On July 1, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an interim final rule that aims to give patients additional protections from surprise medical bills. Specifically, the interim rule established protections from “surprise billing and excessive cost-sharing” for consumers receiving health care items and services. It also prohibits out-of-network charges for ancillary services without advance notice. The initial round of regulations applies to group health plans, health insurance issuers, health care providers and facilities, air ambulance services, among others. Most of the consumer protections included in the interim final rule take effect on January 1, 2022.

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