The real cost of transferring medical records

As they say: don’t sweat the small stuff

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Q: I’m transferring from one medical doctor to another and was told it would cost me $120 to have my file photocopied and transferred. Is this normal? And is this a fair price?

—Rona K., Toronto

A: Doctors can charge a “reasonable” fee to transfer your medical records, according to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. The fee is intended to cover the material itself, the time it takes to assemble it all and the direct cost of sending it to the new physician. While the fee isn’t defined, the guideline is $30 for the first 20 pages and $0.25 for every page after that. Doctors are also advised to take into account the patient’s financial situation. If your file is short, the $120 fee might be high and, as such, you can call your doctor and ask them to reduce it. If that doesn’t work and you’re really steamed about it you can file a formal complaint with the College. However, I used to live in the United States and I still feel grateful for the relative bargain we have with Canadian health care. If I were you, I’d pay the fee, move on and raise a glass to good health for you and your family.        

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