Health care providers are required to disclose medical records within a reasonable time, but no more than 21 working days after the date a person in interest requests the disclosure. A health care provider that knowingly and willfully refuses to disclose medical records in violation of Health-General Article § 4-309 (a)(d) is liable for actual damages, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 for the first offense and not exceeding $5,000 for each subsequent conviction for a violation of any provision of this subtitle.
The fees that may be charged for preparation and production of medical records may be adjusted annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index on July 1 of each year. See Medical Records Copying Fee as of 2021.
More information on the Consumer Price Index can be found at: http://www.bls.gov/bls/proghome.htm
Health care providers may not refuse to disclose a medical record on the request of a person in interest because of the failure of the person in interest to pay for health care rendered by the provider. Health care providers may require payment of the preparation, copying, shipping and handling fees and charges before turning the records over to a patient or other authorized individual. Health care providers are required to comply with subpoenas, and no fee may be charged to transfer the records of Medicaid recipients to another provider.
However, physicians using electronic medical records systems should take note of an important change in HIPAA medical records privacy rules. As of February I7, 20 I 0, if a medical practice is using an electronic medical records system, they must provide a patient requesting their medical record with a copy in electronic format if the patient so requests. The charge for the copy provided can be no more than the actual labor costs incurred by the practice in responding to that request.
A health care provider or any other person, including an officer or employee of a governmental unit, who knowingly and willfully requests or obtains a medical record under false pretenses or through deception or knowingly and willfully discloses a medical record in violation of this subtitle is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to the following penalties: A fine not exceeding $50,000, imprisonment for not more than 1 year , or both; If the offense is committed under false pretenses, a fine not exceeding $100,000, imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both; and if the offense is committed with intent to sell, transfer, or use individually identifiable health information for commercial advantage, personal gain, or malicious harm, a fine not exceeding $250,000, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both. This subsection does not apply to an officer or employee of a governmental unit that is conducting a criminal investigation.
Being cooperative and timely when a patient requests their medical records avoids complaints to the Board.