The Florida Board of Medicine can set what it terms a “reasonable” fee for the copying of medical records by physicians. The fee for patients is $1 per page for the first 25 pages, and 25 cents per page thereafter.
This seems excessive, but it could get even worse. On Friday in Deerfield Beach, the board will consider a request by the medical record copying industry to increase the fee to a $1 per page regardless of the number of pages. That would make Florida the costliest state for copying medical records.
Within walking distance of my office, I can have copies made of medical records for as little as 9 or 10 cents per page for black and white copies. The price increases if the records have lots of staples or are in poor condition, but not by much. The copy service is a thriving local business, so clearly the actual, reasonable cost to make copies is much less than these national medical copy companies want to charge — and in many cases are already illegally charging.
The proposed $1-per-page cost doesn’t include shipping, and you would think that in most doctors’ offices it wouldn’t take an unreasonable length of time to locate and copy your records. So there is no legitimate reason for charging such a high cost.
The Florida Board of Medicine needs to protect consumers from unfair price gouging. The board, in recognizing the importance of medical records, notes in the preamble to the rule that “patient access to medical records is important and necessary to assure continuity of patient care.” At the Florida Consumer Action Network, we ask the Florida Board of Medicine to support consumers and maintain the current guidelines on the costs of copying medical records.
Editor’s note: Alice Vickers is the 2013/2014 Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year, awarded by the Consumer Protection Law Committee of the Florida Bar.
Better to let ‘radical whites’ make law?
Referring to the letter-writer who worries about letting “radical blacks” determine what laws we have in any given state: What does she think about letting “radical whites” determine our laws? That’s certainly closer to reality.
West Palm Beach
West Palm wrong on golf rezoning
Regarding the rezoning of the President Golf Club North Course: The developer proposes to rezone to commercial the center of a small area of residential complexes. The residences are already surrounded by 16 or more entities and developments that produce air and water pollution. They include the Palm Beach Mall, where work already has caused me and other residents to experience health symptoms from the inevitable pollution that results.
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio has been quoted as making the misstatement that “while a vocal minority is against the project, most are for it.” Data will show just the opposite when all the affected residents are given full information and are counted. As a retired health professional, I am very concerned about the pollution from this proposed concentrated commercial rezoning.
West Palm Beach
Same-sex denial just start of savings
Regarding the letter “Palm Beach policy out of step with times,” about the town of Palm Beach refusing to grant benefits to same-sex partners of employees: Even with the trend moving toward inclusion rather than exclusion and discrimination, members of the Palm Beach Gardens City Council also want to not provide health care benefits for the handful of domestic partners currently covered, saying it is not a political or philosophical issue but an economic matter.
With that being the case, think of the windfall if health care benefits were discontinued for all of their employees. Now we’re talking $avings!
Gardens benefits policy a gay issue
Regarding the issue of same-sex partner benefits: Palm Beach Gardens officials says economics is why they don’t want to give the benefits. No, it is a gay issue.
All heterosexual married couples receive health benefits — 440 employees of them at a cost of about $5 million. However, if nine gay employees applied for benefits for their partners they would be denied because it would cost the city about “$102,000.”
Let’s pose a question: If these same nine employees were all of a sudden to marry heterosexually, would they be denied benefits because of economics? Of course not. The city would willingly pay the $102,000. But because they are people of the same gender who also happen to love each other, as do the other couples collecting health benefits, they are denied because of economics? And it’s not a gay issue? Nonsense.
KENNETH D. GEORGE
Port St. Lucie
Cleveland kidnapping: What we can learn
Regarding the plea deal in the Cleveland kidnapping case: Watching this horrible story evolve tells us how badly we need proper mental health care in this country. How can we continue to call ourselves a great country when we do not have health care for all, let alone mental health care, with facilities available to everyone, not just the movie stars and millionaires?
There is no justification for what this Cleveland psychopath did to those young girls, but it makes you wonder if better mental health care could have prevented this and some of the recent massive gun slayings all over the country.
Witness said angry Martin the aggressor
Everyone admits that the death of Trayvon Martin is a tragedy and that the circumstances are open to conjecture. It would be wonderful if such an incident were never to happen again.
But does anyone else wonder why the blurb of Rachel Jeantel’s TV interview (she was on the phone with Trayvon at the time of the incident) after the trial — during which she said that Mr. Martin got angry that George Zimmerman was following him — so he attacked him, has not had a lot of air time or print space in the media?
Too bad she hadn’t said that at the trial. It would have indicated that Trayvon was the aggressor in the incident, and made the jury’s decision more understandable.
West Palm Beach
Republicans don’t want budget deal
Regarding “Obama: Cut corporate tax rates as part of jobs deal”: It has been established that Republicans have caused Congress to be dysfunctional. There are no signs that they are able to compromise. The Republicans are against any possible budget agreement that would include revenue increases.
Why? Because they are afraid that any support in this area would be against their party line, which is to protect the wealthiest and businesses from any tax increase. Going against the party line, even though doing so would be good for the majority of us, would mean they might lose support in the Republican primary. Gather the facts about how and why these elected representatives are voting as they are, and remember that the 2014 election is not far away.
Mandela a lesson in leadership
Regarding “South Africans mark Mandela’s ‘smiling’ on 95th birthday”: Everyone owes Nelson Mandela a debt of gratitude.
I grew up being told that South Africa was doomed, that when apartheid inevitably fell, it would be a bloodbath of reprisals. But Nelson Mandela would have none of that. Despite a cruel, 27-year stint in prison, he told his country that vengeance was wrong, and sought out conciliation. We only need to look north to the horror that Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has become to see what could have happened.
Mr. Mandela took the high road, and showed the rest of the world the real meaning of leadership by convincing his nation that “one settler, one bullet” was over, and the future meant working together with people of all types. His actions saved the world an unknowable amount of bloodshed. Had South Africa burned, many other countries would have followed. Instead, he gave us a benchmark for how to change even the most intractable regimes without resorting to mass killing. God bless Nelson Mandela.