H. B. 3107

(By Delegates Williams, Warner and Mezzatesta)

[Introduced February 21, 2003; referred to the

Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section two, article twenty-nine, chapter sixteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to clarifying reimbursement for copying and searching medical records by declaring reasonableness; and specifying retroactive application.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section two, article twenty-nine, chapter sixteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted, to read as follows:

§16-29-2. Reasonable expenses to be reimbursed.

(a) The provider shall be reimbursed by the person requesting in writing a copy of the records at the time of delivery for all reasonable expenses incurred in complying with this article: Provided, That the cost may not exceed seventy-five cents per page for the copying of any record or records which have already been reduced to written form and a search fee may not exceed ten dollars. The foregoing rates of seventy-five cents per page and a search fee of ten dollars are declared by the Legislature, and the provider is not required to provide evidence of actual expenses or costs in order to be entitled to such rates and fee. The Legislature finds that the amendment of this subsection enacted during the two thousand three regular session of the Legislature is a clarification of existing law as previously enacted by the Legislature and in accordance with section ten-bb, article two, chapter two of this code, is expressly made retroactive and given full force and effect for the entire period this subsection was first enacted.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a provider shall not impose a charge on an indigent person or his or her authorized representative if the medical records are necessary for the purpose of supporting a claim or appeal under any provisions of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §301 et seq.
(c) For purposes of this section, a person is considered indigent if he or she:
(1) Is represented by an organization or affiliated pro bono program that provides legal assistance to indigents; or
(2) Verifies on a medical records request and release form that the records are requested for purposes of supporting a social security claim or appeal and submits with the release form reasonable proof that the person is financially unable to pay full copying charges by reason of unemployment, disability, income below the federal poverty level, or receipt of state or federal income assistance.
(d) Any person requesting free copies of written medical records pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section is limited to one set of copies per provider. Any additional requests for the same records from the same provider shall be subject to the fee provisions of subsection (a).

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to clarify that a person providing medical records is not required to demonstrate actual expenses incurred in order to receive full reimbursement of the copying and search fees established by law. This clarification is expressly made retroactive.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be removed from current law; and underlining indicates new language which would be added.