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RULE §573.54Patient Records Release and Charges

(a) Release of records pursuant to request. Upon the request of the client or their authorized representative, the veterinarian shall furnish a copy of the patient records, including a copy of any radiographs requested, within 15 business days of the request or in accordance with subsection (f) of this section, unless a longer period is reasonably required to duplicate the records. If a longer period is necessary and prior to the 15 business day deadline, the veterinarian must inform the client in writing how long it will take to furnish the records and why production of the records is delayed. The records must be provided no later than 30 calendar days after the request. If the records are requested for acute/emergency care, the veterinarian must provide the records immediately and no later than one business day.

(b) Contents of records. For purposes of this section, "patient records" shall include those records as defined in §573.52 of this title (relating to Veterinarian Patient Record Keeping).

(c) Allowable charges. The veterinarian may charge a reasonable fee for this service and, in non-emergency and non-acute situations, may withhold the records until such payment is received. A reasonable fee shall include only the cost of:

  (1) copying, including the labor and cost of supplies for copying;

  (2) postage, when the individual has requested the copy or summary be mailed; and

  (3) preparing a summary of the records when appropriate.

(d) Improper withholding for past due accounts. Patient records requested pursuant to a proper request for release may not be withheld from the client, the client's authorized agent, or the client's designated recipient for such records based on a past due account for care or treatment previously rendered to the patient.

(e) The veterinarian shall be entitled to the reasonable fee prior to the release of the records unless the information is requested by another veterinarian or his or her agent for purposes of emergency or acute medical care.

(f) The veterinarian must notify the requestor of records the amount of the reasonable fee within five (5) business days of the request. Once the veterinarian receives written or verbal notice from the requestor that the requestor accepts the reasonable fee and will pick up the records, the veterinarian must have the records copied and ready for delivery within ten (10) business days of receiving such notice.

Source Note: The provisions of this §573.54 adopted to be effective June 14, 2012, 37 TexReg 4229; amended to be effective May 4, 2015, 40 TexReg 2419; amended to be effective November 22, 2015, 40 TexReg 8027

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