New Jersey: Lower Costs for Litigating Workers' Compensation Cases
It is certainly rare when a piece of legislation helps to lower the cost of defending workers’ compensation claims. However, a new law does just that.
NJ Senate Bill S2253 was recently signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy. The “Act concerning patient records,” will drastically lower the amount that hospitals and medical providers can charge for providing copies of records. In many workers’ compensation cases, the investigation requires that medical records be obtained from doctors or healthcare facilities. These medical charts can often be voluminous and can carry production and copying charges of hundreds of dollars.
This new law reduces the fees that medical providers can charge for the production of medical records. Specifically, as to workers’ compensation carriers, the law outlines charges and caps that now must be followed:
- Medical records in paper, electronic format, microfilm, or microfiche – no more than $1 per page – capped at $50 per individual admission or patient record.
- No charge for copies of billing records
- Reproduction of x-rays shall be no more than $15 per printed image or $30 per CD or DVD – plus an administrative fee of $10
- Search fees can be no more than $20 per request
- Certification fees can be no more than $10 per certification
- Delivery fees are at cost, plus sales tax, if applicable
Previously, providers could charge $1.00 per page up to $125 for copies, plus a search fee of $25. The new $50 cap will lead to significant cost savings on many, if not all, litigated workers’ compensation cases in NJ.
I would note that, since this law is so new, many providers are still charging hundreds of dollars for medical record production, either because they are unaware of the law, or hope that the carrier or attorney is unaware of it. It will be important to scrutinize any invoices coming in for record production to ensure that they are compliant to avoid overpaying for the production of records.
Disclaimer: This post does not offer specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. You should not reach any legal conclusions based on the information contained in this post without first seeking the advice of counsel.