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    When you shouldn’t have to pay for medical records

    Regarding Mitch Lipka’s Consumer Alert (“Can hospitals really charge patients for copies of records?” Money & Careers, Aug. 4), you might want to note an important exception to his affirmative answer.

    The following is from Section 70 of Chapter 111 of the Massachusetts General Laws: “except that no fee shall be charged to any applicant, beneficiary or individual representing said applicant or beneficiary for furnishing a record if the record is requested for the purpose of supporting a claim or appeal under any provision of the Social Security Act or any federal or state financial needs-based benefit program.”

    Many hospitals and health providers, as well as many such applicants and beneficiaries, do not know of this exception. This I know from having worked for more than 20 years as a MassHealth lawyer for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

    John L. Hodge

    Jamaica Plain