In December 2019, the Arizona Legislature changed the law regarding medical records costs. Now, any medical provider in Arizona must give disability attorneys their clients' medical records for FREE.
After years of fighting with doctors' offices and copying services to reduce medical records costs for my clients, and working with other disability lawyers to pressure AZ lawmakers to make the change, we have done it!
Under the previous law, there was no provision that determined how much a doctor could charge a disability lawyer for medical records. We often maintained that the records were being requested by our client to be sent to our office, but that we as a third party were not making the request. If a third party makes a request, the doctors can charge however much they like. For a patient request though, the cost has to be "reasonable" which is somewhat vague. Nonetheless, in 2015 our clients paid more than $150,000 in medical records costs. After two years of fighting, my assistant and I were able to drop that cost to only $20,000 per year! This new law drops that cost to $0!
The new provision reads that a medical provider cannot charge for records in the following situation in which the records are requested by: The patient or the patient's legal representative for the purpose of appealing a denial of benefits under the social security act. Any additional request for medical records and a request for medical records that were previously provided free of charge in the same calendar year are subject to a reasonable fee pursuant to subsection A of this section, except that a fee may not be charged if no medical records are located in response to the request. A legal representative must provide an appointment of representative form SSA-1696 before obtaining a patient's medical records free of charge.