We don’t charge for medical records. And here is why:
When people ask for their records, nine out of 10 times, it is because they are leaving the practice. And the way I look at it people leave for two reasons.
- They are upset at the practice
- They are leaving as a result of a situation beyond their control (eg insurance, moving, etc).
Collecting payment from somebody that is upset at you or your practice is very uncomfortable and somewhat difficult. People don’t like to pay people they don’t like, regardless.
So what is our approach?
We kill’em with kindness and put as little barriers as possible for them to leave the office. Trying to collect 30 or 40 bucks from someone that is on their way out is a battle not worth fighting. What is the upside?
For those in group number two, as a customer service gesture, we print their records for free as well. We express how sad we are that they are leaving and wish them the best of luck in finding a great pediatrician. No need to penalize them for changing insurance or moving.
I know, there is a cost to printing and mailing the records, and it is also a bit of a hassle, specially if you don’t have electronic medical records.
But unless you have a mass exodus on your hands, it shouldn’t be too much of a burden. And if it is, deciding how much to charge a patient is the least of your worries. You need to address why you are having a mass exodus.
For the records, I’m not suggesting that you are doing something bad if you charge patients for their records. I understand each office is different and each has their own way of doing (justifying, just like I justify) things. All I’m doing here is explaining why WE don’t charge for medical records.
Do you charge for medical records? Why? Why Not?