Complaint case study: High cost for access to health records

news
10 December 2020

complain

Aminah contacted the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC) about a $220 charge imposed by a medical practitioner for providing her with access to her health records.

Aminah did not know why such a high fee was imposed and was concerned that, even if she paid the fee, she might not gain access to her records.

What we did:

We contacted the practitioner to ask about the $220 charge. The practitioner said that he was charging $220 for medicolegal documents because the request had come from Aminah’s solicitor rather than from the patient herself.

We reminded the practitioner of his obligations under the Health Records Act 2001 about what he could charge a patient to access their own health information. We explained that whether the request came from the patient, or from a solicitor acting on the patient’s behalf, the practitioner must charge in accordance with the Health Records Act (HRA). Following our advice, the practitioner agreed to recalculate the charges in line with the HRA and to send a new invoice to Aminah’s solicitor. The invoice listed a breakdown of the fees charged and totalled $106.70.

The outcome:

Aminah was satisfied that she had been charged the correct amount for accessing her health information.

More information

To read about other case studies and the work of the HCC, visit: hcc.vic.gov.au/resources/case-studies

If you, or anyone you know, has difficulty accessing their health records, or if any member of the public has any concerns about the provision of health services in Victoria, they can contact the HCC office on 1300 582 133, or via the website at hcc.vic.gov.au

For more information about the Health Records Act 2001, or the Health Complaints Act 2016, visit hcc.vic.gov.au/about/legislation