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SENATE BILL NO. 399
INTRODUCED BY R. JABS
AN ACT PROVIDING A CAP ON THE AMOUNT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER MAY CHARGE FOR COPYING HEALTH CARE INFORMATION; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 50-16-504, 50-16-526, 50-16-536, 50-16-541, AND 50-16-545, MCA.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Reasonable fees allowed. A reasonable fee for providing health care information may not exceed 50 cents for each page for a paper copy or photocopy. A reasonable fee may include an administrative fee that may not exceed $15 for searching and handling recorded health care information.
Section 2. Section 50-16-504, MCA, is amended to read:
"50-16-504. Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Audit" means an assessment, evaluation, determination, or investigation of a health care provider by a person not employed by or affiliated with the provider, to determine compliance with:
(a) statutory, regulatory, fiscal, medical, or scientific standards;
(b) a private or public program of payments to a health care provider; or
(c) requirements for licensing, accreditation, or certification.
(2) "Directory information" means information disclosing the presence and the general health condition of a patient who is an inpatient in a health care facility or who is receiving emergency health care in a health care facility.
(3) "General health condition" means the patient's health status described in terms of critical, poor, fair, good, excellent, or terms denoting similar conditions.
(4) "Health care" means any care, service, or procedure provided by a health care provider, including medical or psychological diagnosis, treatment, evaluation, advice, or other services that affect the structure or any function of the human body.
(5) "Health care facility" means a hospital, clinic, nursing home, laboratory, office, or similar place where a health care provider provides health care to patients.
(6) "Health care information" means any information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that identifies or can readily be associated with the identity of a patient and relates to the patient's health care. The term includes any record of disclosures of health care information.
(7) "Health care provider" means a person who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by the laws of this state to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession. The term does not include a person who provides health care solely through the sale or dispensing of drugs or medical devices.
(8) "Institutional review board" means a board, committee, or other group formally designated by an institution or authorized under federal or state law to review, approve the initiation of, or conduct periodic review of research programs to assure the protection of the rights and welfare of human research subjects.
(9) "Maintain", as related to health care information, means to hold, possess, preserve, retain, store, or control that information.
(10) "Patient" means an individual who receives or has received health care. The term includes a deceased individual who has received health care.
(11) "Peer review" means an evaluation of health care services by a committee of a state or local professional organization of health care providers or a committee of medical staff of a licensed health care facility. The committee must be:
(a) authorized by law to evaluate health care services; and
(b) governed by written bylaws approved by the governing board of the health care facility or an organization of health care providers.
(12) "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision or agency, or other legal or commercial entity.
(13) "Reasonable fee" means the charge, as provided for in [section 1], for duplicating, searching for, or handling recorded health care information."
Section 3. Section 50-16-526, MCA, is amended to read:
"50-16-526. Patient authorization to health care provider for disclosure. (1) A patient may authorize a health care provider to disclose the patient's health care information. A health care provider shall honor an authorization and, if requested, provide a copy of the recorded health care information unless the health care provider denies the patient access to health care information under 50-16-542.
(2) A health care provider may charge a reasonable fee, not to exceed
his actual cost for providing the health care
information the fee provided for in [section 1], and is not required to honor an authorization until the fee is paid.
(3) To be valid, a disclosure authorization to a health care provider must:
(a) be in writing, dated, and signed by the patient;
(b) identify the nature of the information to be disclosed; and
(c) identify the person to whom the information is to be disclosed.
(4) Except as provided by this part, the signing of an authorization by a patient is not a waiver of any rights a patient has under other statutes, the Montana Rules of Evidence, or common law."
Section 4. Section 50-16-536, MCA, is amended to read:
"50-16-536. Method of compulsory process. (1) Unless the court for good cause shown determines that the notification should be waived or modified, if health care information is sought under 50-16-535(1)(b), (1)(d), or (1)(e) or in a civil proceeding or investigation under 50-16-535(1)(i), the person seeking discovery or compulsory process shall mail a notice by first-class mail to the patient or the patient's attorney of record of the compulsory process or discovery request at least 10 days before presenting the certificate required under subsection (2) to the health care provider.
(2) Service of compulsory process or discovery requests upon a health care provider must be accompanied by a written
certification, signed by the person seeking to obtain health care information or
his by the person's authorized representative,
identifying at least one subsection of 50-16-535 under which compulsory process or discovery is being sought. The
certification must also state, in the case of information sought under 50-16-535(1)(b), (1)(d), or (1)(e) or in a civil
proceeding under 50-16-535(1)(i), that the requirements of subsection (1) for notice have been met. A person may sign the
certification only if the person reasonably believes that the subsection of 50-16-535 identified in the certification provides
an appropriate basis for the use of discovery or compulsory process. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the health care
provider shall maintain a copy of the process and the written certification as a permanent part of the patient's health care
(3) In response to service of compulsory process or discovery requests, where authorized by law, a health care provider may deny access to the requested health care information. Additionally, a health care provider may deny access to the requested health care information under 50-16-542(1). If access to requested health care information is denied by the health care provider under 50-16-542(1), the health care provider shall submit to the court by affidavit or other reasonable means an explanation of why the health care provider believes the information should be protected from disclosure.
Where When access to health care information is denied under 50-16-542(1), the court may order disclosure of
health care information, with or without restrictions as to its use, as the court considers necessary. In deciding whether to
order disclosure, the court shall consider the explanation submitted by the health care provider, the reasons for denying
access to health care information set forth in 50-16-542(1), and any arguments presented by interested parties.
(5) A health care provider required to disclose health care information pursuant to compulsory process may charge a
reasonable fee, not to exceed the
health care provider's actual cost for providing the information fee provided for in [section
1], and may deny examination or copying of the information until the fee is paid.
(6) Production of health care information under 50-16-535 and this section does not in itself constitute a waiver of any privilege, objection, or defense existing under other law or rule of evidence or procedure."
Section 5. Section 50-16-541, MCA, is amended to read:
"50-16-541. Requirements and procedures for patient's examination and copying. (1) Upon receipt of a written
request from a patient to examine or copy all or part of
his the patient's recorded health care information, a health care
provider, as promptly as required under the circumstances but no later than 10 days after receiving the request, shall:
(a) make the information available to the patient for examination, without charge, during regular business hours or provide a copy, if requested, to the patient;
(b) inform the patient if the information does not exist or cannot be found;
(c) if the health care provider does not maintain a record of the information, inform the patient and provide the name and address, if known, of the health care provider who maintains the record;
(d) if the information is in use or unusual circumstances have delayed handling the request, inform the patient and specify in writing the reasons for the delay and the earliest date, not later than 21 days after receiving the request, when the information will be available for examination or copying or when the request will be otherwise disposed of; or
(e) deny the request in whole or in part under 50-16-542 and inform the patient.
(2) Upon request, the health care provider shall provide an explanation of any code or abbreviation used in the health
care information. If a record of the particular health care information requested is not maintained by the health care provider
in the requested form,
he the health care provider is not required to create a new record or reformulate an existing record to
make the information available in the requested form. The health care provider may charge a reasonable fee for each
request, not to exceed the health care provider's actual cost fee provided for in [section 1], for providing the health care
information and is not required to permit examination or copying provide copies until the fee is paid."
Section 6. Section 50-16-545, MCA, is amended to read:
"50-16-545. Dissemination of corrected or amended information or statement of disagreement. (1) A health care provider, upon request of a patient, shall take reasonable steps to provide copies of corrected or amended information or of a statement of disagreement to all persons designated by the patient and identified in the health care information as having examined or received copies of the information sought to be corrected or amended.
(2) A health care provider may charge the patient a reasonable fee, not exceeding the
provider's actual cost fee provided
for in [section 1], for distributing corrected or amended information or the statement of disagreement, unless the provider's
error necessitated the correction or amendment."
Section 7. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 50, chapter 16, part 5, and the provisions of Title 50, chapter 16, part 5, apply to [section 1].
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Latest Version of SB 399 (SB0399.ENR)
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