Current Status Introducing Body:
HouseBill Number: 4510Ratification Number: 597Act Number: 480Primary Sponsor: HarrisonType of Legislation: GBSubject: Physicians' Patient Records ActCompanion Bill Number: 1384Date Bill Passed both Bodies: Jun 03, 1992Computer Document Number: JIC/6221.HCGovernor's Action: SDate of Governor's Action: Jul 01, 1992Introduced Date: Mar 04, 1992Date of Last Amendment: Jun 02, 1992Last History Body: ------Last History Date: Jul 01, 1992Last History Type: Act No. 480Scope of Legislation: StatewideAll Sponsors: HarrisonType of Legislation: General Bill
Bill Body Date Action Description CMN ---- ------ ------------ ------------------------------ --- 4510 ------ Jul 01, 1992 Act No. 480 4510 ------ Jul 01, 1992 Signed by Governor 4510 ------ Jun 04, 1992 Ratified R 597 4510 House Jun 03, 1992 Concurred in Senate amendment, enrolled for ratification 4510 Senate Jun 02, 1992 Amended, read third time, returned with amendment 4510 Senate May 28, 1992 Read second time, ordered to third reading with notice of general amendments 4510 Senate May 28, 1992 Recalled from Committee 13 4510 Senate May 05, 1992 Introduced, read first time, 13 referred to Committee 4510 House Apr 30, 1992 Read third time, sent to Senate 4510 House Apr 29, 1992 Amended, read second time 4510 House Apr 15, 1992 Committee Report: Favorable 27 with amendment 4510 House Mar 04, 1992 Introduced, read first time, 27 referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
(A480, R597, H4510)
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 44, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO HEALTH, BY ADDING CHAPTER 115, THE PHYSICIANS' PATIENT RECORDS ACT, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE TREATING PHYSICIAN IS THE OWNER OF PATIENT RECORDS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE SECURITY OF AND ACCESS TO PATIENT RECORDS, TO PROVIDE THAT MEDICAL RECORDS MAY NOT BE WITHHELD BECAUSE OF AN UNPAID BILL, TO AUTHORIZE A FEE FOR COPYING PATIENT RECORDS AND PROVIDE EXCEPTIONS, TO REQUIRE PHYSICIANS TO RETAIN ADULT PATIENT RECORDS FOR AT LEAST TEN YEARS AND RECORDS OF MINORS FOR AT LEAST THIRTEEN YEARS, TO PROVIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SALE OF PATIENT RECORDS, TO PROVIDE FOR CIVIL AND CRIMINAL IMMUNITY FOR A PHYSICIAN WHO RELEASES RECORDS IN GOOD FAITH PURSUANT TO WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION BY THE PATIENT OR HIS REPRESENTATIVE, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THIS ACT DOES NOT INVALIDATE OTHER PROVISIONS OF LAW RELATING TO MEDICAL RECORDS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Physicians' Patient Records Act
SECTION 1. Title 44 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 44-115-10. This chapter may be cited as the Physicians' Patient Records Act.
Section 44-115-20. The physician is the owner of medical records in his possession that were made in treating a patient and of records transferred to him concerning prior treatment of the patient.
Section 44-115-30. A patient or his legal representative has a right to receive a copy of his medical record, or have the record transferred to another physician, upon request, when accompanied by a written authorization from the patient or his representative to release the record.
Section 44-115-40. Except as otherwise provided by law, a physician shall not honor a request for the release of copies of medical records without the receipt of express written consent of the patient or person authorized by law to act on behalf of the patient.
Section 44-115-50. A physician may rely on the representations of a health and life insurance carrier or administrator of health and life insurance claims that the authorization of the patient or of a person upon whose status the patient's claim depends for release of the medical record is on file with the carrier as an authorization to release medical information under this chapter. A physician who in good faith releases medical information for claims processing relying on the representations of the claims administrator that an authorization for release of the information is on file is immune from any civil or criminal liability alleged to be caused by the physician's compliance with the request to release the information. The physician is not subject to disciplinary action for an alleged violation of law or regulation due to the compliance with the request to release information.
Section 44-115-60. Except as otherwise provided by law, a physician may refuse to release a copy of the entire medical record and may furnish instead a summary or portion of the record when he has a reasonable belief that release of the information contained in the entire record would cause harm to the patient's emotional or physical well-being, the emotional or physical well-being of another person who has given information about the patient to the physician, or where release of the information is otherwise prohibited by law. An unreasonable refusal to release the entire medical record constitutes unprofessional conduct and subjects the physician to disciplinary action of the South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners.
However, notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a physician may not refuse to release the entire record or a portion of the record if the information is requested by a licensed attorney representing the patient, when the request is accompanied by a written authorization signed by the patient, the patient's legal guardian, or the patient's personal representative, for any reason, a licensed attorney representing the patient, or by an insurance company with reference to an application for life or health insurance or the payment and adjudication of claims relating to life and health insurance or if the information is requested with reference to the payment or adjudication of personal injury claims.
Section 44-115-70. Medical records may not be withheld because of an unpaid bill for medical services.
Section 44-115-80. A physician may charge a fee of fifty cents a page or a minimum fee of ten dollars, plus actual postage costs, for making copies of existing medical records.
Section 44-115-90. When a request for medical information involves more than making copies of existing documents, a physician may charge reasonable fees, exclusive of those fees charged for copying the medical record, for providing this service.
Section 44-115-100. The provisions of Sections 44-115-80 and 44-115-90 do not apply to requests for medical information necessary to process a health insurance claim made by a patient or on behalf of the patient by a health insurance carrier or health insurance administrator for services rendered by the physician from whom the information is requested.
Section 44-115-110. Payment for all services related to medical record requests is a just debt, due and payable at the time service is rendered. A physician may require payment in advance for a copy of the record.
Section 44-115-120. Physicians shall retain their records for at least ten years for adult patients and at least thirteen years for minors. These minimum recordkeeping periods begin to run from the last date of treatment. After these minimum recordkeeping periods, the records may be destroyed.
Section 44-115-130. A physician may not sell medical records to someone other than a physician or osteopath licensed by the South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners or a hospital licensed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Exceptions to this prohibition may be granted and approved by the South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners.
Before a physician may sell medical records, he must cause to be published a public notice of his intention to sell the records in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of his practice at least three times in the ninety days preceding the sale. The notice shall advise patients that they may retrieve their records if they prefer that their records not be included in the sale.
Section 44-115-140. A physician who in good faith releases medical records to a party pursuant to a written authorization from the patient or the patient's representative is immune from civil or criminal liability alleged to be caused by the physician's compliance with the request to release the information. The physician is not subject to disciplinary action for an alleged violation of law due to compliance with the request to release information.
Section 44-115-150. This chapter does not invalidate any other provision of law concerning medical records, the alteration of medical records, any interest a patient has in the information contained within the medical record, or any civil action brought in the state or federal courts alleging medical negligence; further, this chapter does not invalidate the authority of a court to issue a subpoena or of a licensing or disciplinary board of this State to obtain these records as provided by law."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Approved the 1st day of July, 1992.