Troubleshooter: Frustrations over medical records

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson

March 5, 2010 5:37:59 PM PST
A Triangle couple is frustrated over access to daughter's medical records. Their daughter, Cheyenne Wilkins was born 14 weeks premature at Duke Hospital and had to overcome many obstacles. "She loved life and that was something about her that was the best," Wilkins' mother Laura Davis said.

"All the trouble she did have she would still laugh and play with all her toys," David added.

Being so pre-mature she had suffered many complications while at Duke. She fought and overcame many obstacles, but lost her battle at just 15-months-old.

After grieving Cheyenne's loss, her mother and father wanted their daughter's medical records and made the formal request through Duke.

"Originally they said it was going to be about 5,000 to 6,000 pages for $1,512," Wilkins said. "We didn't have the money at that time and by the time we did come up with the money they already put the records back."

So they made the request again.

"It was a mix-up, it wasn't 5,000 to 6,000 pages, it was more like 14,000 pages and they were going to charge us 3,000 for them," Wilkins said. "I thought that was outrageous for a bunch of pages."

He says he couldn't understand why it was now 14,000 pages, since when they made the first request and checked the entire record and why the cost on the pre-payment slip was $1,512 - now the same request was double the price and almost triple the pages.

"When it becomes harder to get medical records you feel like they're still jerking you around," Davis said.

When the couple couldn't understand why they had to pay more for the records, they got ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson involved.

ABC11 got in touch with Duke Hospital and within hours, the couple received a call from Duke and was told the records were being Fed-Ex'd to them.

Soon after, the boxes and boxes of records were delivered to their door.

"Finally get a little bit of closure to what happened," Wilkins said.

A representative for Duke said the cost of medical records is based on the number of pages available.

When they first received the request, the cost did not include notes taken in a specialty service area due to a clerical error, when the second request was made, all records were printed including those specialty notes, which added to the total page count, increasing the cost.

Once the clerical computer error was recognized, the records were sent to Cheyenne's parents immediately to avoid further delay, without requiring prepayment for the original fee of $1,512.

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