Our St Louis injury law firm keeps most files in secured electronic format, greatly reducing our reliance on paper files which also makes accessing, storing, and producing files much more efficient and effective. Personal injury attorneys deal with a lot of medical records, particularly in medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. About seven years ago our law firm began digitizing most files and medical records. Then a few years ago many services popped up that provide electronic medical records to us for our clients, as more and more doctors and hospitals began keeping their records in digital format.
Depending on the case, but some personal injury cases involve boxes and boxes of medical records and those costs add up, but the Missouri legislature recently amended the statue regarding medical record retrieval costs. Until now, all records were subject to a $17.05 processing fee plus $.40 cents per page, no matter if the medical records were actually copied or just emailed in electronic format. So the law was forcing lawyers to pay medical providers $.40 per page for records that are simply emailed from a file. That can really add up, especially if the records are from a hospital stay which includes patient registration, nurse assessment, charts, monitoring records, notes, consults, etc ... a hospital stay can quickly turn into hundreds of pages of medical records.
Now there is another reason to get and keep medical records in electronic format, Missouri's legislature has amended Missouri Statute 191.227 with Senate Bill 62 stating the charge cannot exceed $25 no matter how many pages are in our injured client's chart:
"If the health care provider stores records in an electronic or digital format, and provides the requested records and affidavit, if requested, in an electronic or digital format, not more than five dollars plus fifty cents per page or twenty-five dollars total, whichever is less" Senate Bill 62
Therefore, electronic records now cost no more than $25 no matter how many pages are part of that particular record. Under the old law 1000 pages would cost around $420.00, even if provided in simple electronic format and not physically copied, now that same request is $25.00 ONLY if requested electronically. Costs of medical records are costs most personal injury lawyers in Missouri deduct from the final recovery as costs of the case, now this new law passes savings onto injury victims, assuming your injury lawyer can get away from the traditional paper records.
The costs savings is just one of many reasons to go digital with medical records. Personally, I have all my injury case files in electronic format, which allows me to highlight and bookmark pages electronically and quickly jump to them at a moments notice in a deposition or in the heat of trial without fumbling through stacks of paper. Makes it easier to send documents for injury clients to review or to send the documents to opposing counsel by email saving time, money, and trees.