OF JUDGMENT: 03/12/2018
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT, HON. STANLEY
ALEX SOREY JUDGE.
COURT ATTORNEYS: THOMAS L. TULLOS MATTHEW DAVID SITTON ROBERT
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: MATTHEW D. SITTON THOMAS L.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: THOMAS L. TULLOS.
KITCHENS, P.J., MAXWELL AND CHAMBERLIN, JJ.
KITCHENS, PRESIDING JUSTICE.
Melita C. Hamilton sued Weatherford International, LLC, and
William T. Dixon in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial
District of Jasper County. During the lawsuit, Hamilton
requested a copy of her medical records from NewSouth
Neurospine, LLC. NewSouth billed Hamilton $210.65 for
production of 233 pages of medical records and the execution
of a medical records affidavit. When Hamilton disputed the
amount of the fees, NewSouth asserted that the amount was
allowed by Mississippi Code Section 11-1-52 (Rev. 2019).
Hamilton moved for discovery sanctions on the ground that
NewSouth's bill exceeded what was permitted by the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The
trial court granted Hamilton's motion, finding that under
the HIPAA Privacy Rule, NewSouth was limited to charging a
reasonable, cost-based fee for reproduction of medical
records. The trial court ordered NewSouth to refund Hamilton
$159; NewSouth appeals. We affirm the order of a refund for
reproducing part of Hamilton's medical records, but we
reverse the order of a refund of $25 for executing a medical
Mississippi Code Section 11-1-52 prescribes the maximum
amounts that a Mississippi medical facility may charge for
photocopying medical records. Section 11-1-52(1) provides, in
pertinent part, that
[a]ny medical provider or hospital or nursing home or other
medical facility shall charge no more than the following
amounts to patients or their representatives for photocopying
any patient's records: Twenty Dollars ($20.00) for pages
one (1) through twenty (20); One Dollar ($1.00) per page for
the next eighty (80) pages; Fifty Cents (50¢) per page
for all pages thereafter. Ten percent (10%) of the total
charge may be added for postage and handling.
Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-52(1) (Rev. 2019). Under
subsection (3), a medical facility may charge a maximum fee
of $25 "for executing a medical record affidavit, when
the affidavit is requested by the patient or the
patient's representative." Miss. Code Ann. §
11-1-52(3) (Rev. 2019).
Mississippi Code Section 11-1-52 was amended in 2006 to
codify the obligation of medical facilities to comply with
HIPAA when charging fees for photocopying, postage, and
handling of medical records. According to subsection (4),
"[i]n charging the fees authorized under subsection (1)
of this section, the medical provider, hospital, nursing home
or other medical facility shall comply with the federal
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA)." Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-52(4) (Rev. 2019).
Under 42 U.S.C. § 17935(e) and its implementing
regulations, an individual has a right of access to a copy of
his or her medical records, known as protected health
information. 42 U.S.C. § 17935(e) (Supp. IV 2016); 45
C.F.R. § 164.524(a) (2019). For a copy of protected
health information, the provider may charge the individual a
"reasonable, cost-based fee" limited to the cost
(i) Labor for copying the protected health information
requested by the individual, whether in paper or electronic
(ii) Supplies for creating the paper copy or electronic media
if the individual requests that the electronic copy be
provided on portable media;
(iii) Postage, when the individual has requested the copy, or
the summary or explanation, be mailed; and
(iv) Preparing an explanation or summary of the protected
health information, if agreed to by the individual as
required by paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section.
45 C.F.R. § 164.524(c)(4) (2019).
NewSouth received Hamilton's written and signed medical
records request on November 2, 2017. Hamilton requested that
NewSouth mail a compact disc (CD) to her attorneys, Tullos
and Tullos, PLLC, containing a copy of her medical records
from September 23, 2011, to the present. Hamilton contended
that NewSouth should charge her $6.50 for this
service. NewSouth invoiced Tullos and Tullos
$210.65 for production of Hamilton's medical records on
CD. NewSouth's invoice reflected that it charged Hamilton
the maximum amounts permitted by Section 11-1-52. NewSouth
charged $166.50 for 233 pages of medical records, equating to
$1 per page for the first one hundred pages, and $.50 per
page for the next 133 pages. NewSouth also charged $25 ...