Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Those medical tests are yours" LA times

Article in the LA times:
Los Angeles resident Rose Cohen says all she wanted was a copy of her laboratory test results.

She'd been given a routine blood panel during an annual visit to her gynecologist and wanted to show the report to her internist. The results had already been returned to her gynecologist from the lab, meaning they were now legally part of her medical record. (In California, a laboratory cannot give patients their results directly unless the patient's doctor has given consent.)
The doctor "gave me my cholesterol levels and then told me that I should discuss the other test results with my internist," Cohen says. "So I said, 'OK, send me a copy of it and I'll walk it to my doctor.' They said, 'We'd like to fax it to your doctor rather than give it to you.' "

When Cohen asked why, the nurse she spoke with simply cited office policy as the reason. "She told me, 'We do this as a courtesy for doctors.' "

After a series of heated exchanges, Cohen says she was finally told she could have her laboratory results, but that she had to a pay $25 administrative fee for the copy. She was incensed.

"I don't know what's going on there but this seems absurd," she says. "I told them, 'You're holding my test results hostage for $25. It's my blood, my test results.' "

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