Last week, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, introduced a bill meant to simplify access to medical records for patients.
The bill, H.R. 7295, called the Medical Records Access Fairness Act, would require health care providers to give patients access to their medical records at no cost once per year if they need them, according to a news release.
The report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office patients may be charged fees that impose an unnecessary financial burden. Patients who have long medical histories can incur costs of thousands of dollars depending on the fees associated with medical record copies. The study also described a situation in which one patients was charged over $100 for an electronic copy.
“Access to medical records is an essential component of ensuring patients get the best possible health care,” Foster said in the news release.
He added that fees charged for records vary drastically by state and some states, including Illinois, allow providers to charge a per-page fee. Foster said the bill would remove an unreasonable financial barrier to health care.
The Chronic Disease Coalition, the National MS Society, the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the American Cancer Society Action Network and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation support the bill.