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Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-11-304 - Requirements for Hospitals Regarding Furnishing Medical Records

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Hospital records are and shall remain the property of the hospitals, subject to a court order to produce the records. Unless prohibited by law, a hospital shall furnish, without unreasonably delay, to a patient or a patient's authorized representative the patient's hospital records upon request in writing by the patient or the representative. A hospital shall furnish a health record requested pursuant to this section within thirty (30) days of the request

The party requesting the patient's records shall be responsible for the reasonable costs of copying and mailing the records.

The charges to a patient or his authorized lawyer shall not exceed the reasonable costs for copying and the actual costs of mailing the records. Reasonable costs do not include those associated with the maintenance and storage of the records, nor any costs that associated with providing the records to any party other than a patient or a lawyer authorized to review the patient's records.

The following charges will be considered reasonable:

  • A fee of eighteen dollars ($18.00) for the first five pages of the medical record and eighty-five cents (85¢) per page for the sixth through fiftieth page; sixty cents (60¢) per page for the fifty-through the two hundred fiftieth page, and thirty-five cents (35¢) per page for all pages thereafter;
  • A fee for certifying medical records, not to exceed twenty dollars ($20.00) for each record certified.

The costs charged for reproducing records of patients involved in a workers' compensation claim shall be as defined in § 50-6-204. In workers' compensation cases, a request for medical records shall include a medical or anatomical impairment rating, if available. Special additional or separate charges for including impairment ratings are not permitted.

Notwithstanding the reasonable fee provisions above, a hospital may not impose a charge on an indigent person for furnishing the person, or the person's attorney or authorized representative, with a health record sought for the purpose of supporting a claim or appeal under any provision of the Social Security Act, if a request for the record is accompanied by a copy of a recent application seeking benefits under the Social Security Act or a copy of a recent decision denying benefits. Patients assisted by legal aid organizations or pro bono attorneys are presumed indigent. A hospital may demand reasonable proof of indigence from any other patient not so represented.

A hospital is not obligated to provide additional copies of a previously furnished record to an indigent patient free of charge.

The above does not supersede any law that established specific costs for production or mailing of records. Payment of costs may be required by the hospital prior to the records being furnished and the hospital may charge the actual costs of postage.

Hospital records shall be made available when requested for inspection by a duly authorized representative of the board or department. Unless provided by law, hospital records are not public records and are meant to be confidential.

Upon request from OIG and the Medicaid Fraud Unit, providers, as defined in  § 71-5-2503, shall make available by end of business the following day, a complete set of all medical records requested in connection with an investigation being pursued by the agency, or shall provide a compelling reason why the requested records cannot be produced. Requested records shall not be removed from the premises without the provider’s authorization, unless the requesting agency believes the records are about to be altered or destroyed. The provider may request that an authorized agent of the requesting agency sign a receipt confirmation and/or a document acknowledging the return of specific records to the provider. No person or entity will be civilly or criminally liable for releasing patient information in response to a request from one of the above agencies.

Current as of June 2015