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Medical Records Must be Provided FREE if Needed to Support Claims for Pubic Benefits - New September 2017

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Posted: 29 Jan, 2018
by Valerie Bogart (New York Legal Assistance Group)
Updated: 29 Jan, 2018
by Valerie Bogart (New York Legal Assistance Group)

In September 2017, a new law went into effect that requires health care providers to provide medical records at no charge, when needed to support an application, claim or appeal for a government benefit or program.    Here's what the law adds to Mental Hygiene Law § 331 and NYS Public Health Law § 17:

"...NO CHARGE  MAY  BE  IMPOSED UNDER THIS SECTION FOR PROVIDING, RELEASING, OR
DELIVERING MEDICAL RECORDS OR COPIES OF MEDICAL RECORDS WHERE  REQUESTED
FOR  THE  PURPOSE  OF SUPPORTING AN APPLICATION, CLAIM OR APPEAL FOR ANY
GOVERNMENT BENEFIT OR PROGRAM, PROVIDED THAT, WHERE A PROVIDER MAINTAINS
MEDICAL RECORDS IN ELECTRONIC FORM, IT SHALL PROVIDE THE COPY IN  EITHER
ELECTRONIC  OR  PAPER  FORM,  AS  REQUIRED  BY THE GOVERNMENT BENEFIT OR
PROGRAM, OR AT THE PATIENT'S REQUEST."

If the medical records are maintained electronically, the provider must provide them in the format requested by the patient or the government program - electronic or in paper.  When requesting records, you should specify which format is preferred.

Enactment of this law was a huge win for New Yorkers with chronic conditions or disabilities, who need their medical records to prove disability for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, Medicaid, SNAP/Food Stamps, public assistance, and other public benefits.  Read more about enactment of the law  (A7842/S6078)  in this news article

Also listed in
folder Medicaid -> Applying For and Keeping Medicaid

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