Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
February 6, 2020
 
 
Question:

Jennifer,
 
A patient who owes me money requested her record.  Can I withhold it? 
 
Thank you,
Dr. P


Answer:

No.  There's no way around it.  Here is the "No" from the Office for Civil Rights, the Federal HIPAA Enforcement Agency -

https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/access/index.html#newlyreleasedfaqs 

May a health care provider withhold a copy of an individual’s PHI from the individual who requested it because the covered entity used the individual’s payment of the allowable fee for the copy to instead pay an outstanding bill for health care services provided to the individual?

No.  Just as a covered entity may not withhold or deny an individual access to his PHI on the grounds that the individual has not paid the bill for health care services the covered entity provided to the individual, a covered entity may not withhold or deny access on the grounds that the covered entity used the individual’s payment of the fee for a copy of his PHI to offset or pay the individual’s outstanding bill for health care services.