NEW JERSEY REGISTER
Proposed Amendment: N.J.A.C. 13:44C-8.1
Authorized By: Reni Erdos, Director, Division of Consumer Affairs.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:3B-24.
Submit written comments by June 4, 2004 to:
Renee Clark, Executive Director
Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee
Division of Consumer Affairs
124 Halsey Street
PO Box 45002
Newark, New Jersey 07101
The agency proposal follows:
Pursuant to the rulemaking authority in N.J.S.A. 45:3B-24, the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs (the "Director") proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44C-8.1 in order to clarify requirements for the provision of records by audiologists and speech-language pathologists to patients.
N.J.A.C. 13:44C-8.1(c) currently requires licensees to provide copies of patient records, without charge, upon written request of the patient or his or her designee. The rule, however, also permits a licensee to charge a reasonable fee for the cost of reproduction of these records. The Director believes that this rule is not as clear as it should be in that it appears to prohibit the charging of a fee for the provision of records while permitting the recouping of copying costs. The Director proposes to amend this rule to provide further guidance for licensees when patient records are requested and so that the rule more closely reflects the recordkeeping requirements imposed by other boards and committees within the Division.
N.J.A.C. 13:44C-8.1(c) is proposed for amendment to require licensees to provide records to a patient or a person whom the patient has designated to receive records within 30 days of receiving a request for the record. The existing rule requires that records be provided within 15 days; the Director proposes this amendment in order to standardize this requirement with other professional boards and committees. The proposed amendment would allow licensees to require that requests be made in writing and allows licensees to charge a fee for the reproduction of records. This fee can be no more than $1.00 per page or $100.00 for the entire record, whichever is less. The proposed amendment requires licensees to provide, upon request, typed transcripts of the record if the original is illegible or if the record is in a language other than English. The proposed amendment prohibits a licensee from refusing to provide a record because the patient owes the licensee an unpaid balance, if the record is needed by another health care professional in order to render care.
The Director has determined that the comment period for this proposal shall be 60 days; therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this proposal is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.
The Director believes that the proposed amendment will have a positive impact on patients and licensees. The amendment clarifies the procedure a licensee must follow when a patient requests copies of his or her record. This clarification should make it easier for patients to get copies of their records and avoid any confusion about the proper assessment of costs. Increasing the number of days a licensee has to provide records to a patient that requests them will have a positive impact for licensees who will have more time to prepare these records when requested to provide them. The Director does not believe that increasing this time frame will have a negative impact for patients. Patients may have to wait longer to receive their records, but this increase in time is not significant and should have no impact for patients.
The proposed amendment may impose a cost on licensees in that it requires licensees to provide transcripts of illegible records and records kept in a language other than English. The amendment also may impose an economic impact on licensees by limiting them to charging a reproduction fee of either $1.00 per page or $100.00, whichever is less. The Director does not believe that the proposed amendment will have any other economic impact on the public or licensees.
Federal Standards Statement
A Federal standards analysis is not required because there are no Federal laws or standards applicable to the proposed amendment.
The Director does not believe that the proposed amendment will result in an increase or decrease of jobs in this State.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The Director does not believe that the proposed amendment will have any impact on the agriculture industry of this State.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
If, for the purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et esq., the approximately 650 individuals licensed as audiologists and the approximately 4,300 individuals licensed as speech-language pathologists are deemed "small businesses," then the following analysis applies.
The Act requires the Director to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed amendment including the kinds of professional services likely to be needed to comply with the requirements.
The costs imposed on small businesses by the proposed amendment are the same as those imposed on all businesses as outlined in the Economic Impact above.
Licensees may need to hire a translator to translate records that are kept in a language other than English. The Director does not believe that licensees will need to employ any other professional services to comply with the requirements of the proposed amendment.
The proposed amendment imposes compliance requirements but does not impose any recordkeeping or reporting requirements upon licensees. The proposed amendment requires that licensees provide patient records upon request. Licensees are required to provide a typed copy of the records, if they are illegible and a translation of the records, if they are kept in a language other than English. Licensees are required to keep any charges for reproduction of records to $1.00 per page or $100.00 for the record, whichever is less. A licensee cannot refuse to provide records because a patient owes an unpaid balance.
The Director believes that in order to provide uniform application of these recordkeeping requirements to all licensees, the rule provisions should be applied uniformly to all licensees regardless of the size of the business.
Smart Growth Impact
The Board does not anticipate that the proposed amendment will have any impact on the achievement of smart growth and implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, otherwise known as the State Plan.
Full text of the proposal follows :
<< NJ ADC 13:44C-8.1 >>
(a)-(b) (No change.)
(c) <<-All licensees shall provide, without charge, copies of a patient's record of testing or treatment within 15 days of a written request by the patient or any person whom the patient has designated to receive such records. However, nothing herein should be construed to prohibit a licensed speech- language pathologist or audiologist from charging a reasonable fee to the patient for the cost of reproduction of a record.->> <<+Licensees shall provide access to patient treatment records to a patient or person whom the patient has designated to receive records in accordance with the following:+>>
<<+1. No later than 30 days from receipt of a request from a patient or a person whom the patient has designated to receive records, the licensee shall provide a copy of the professional treatment record and/or billing records as may be requested. The record shall include all pertinent objective data including test results, as applicable, and subjective information;+>>
<<+2. The licensee may require that a record request be in writing and may charge a fee for the reproduction of records, which shall be no greater than $1.00 per page or $100.00 for the entire record, whichever is less;+>>
<<+3. If the patient or a subsequent treating health care professional is unable to read the patient record, either because it is illegible or prepared in a language other than English, the licensee shall, upon request, provide an English transcription at no cost to the patient; and+>>
<<+4. The licensee shall not refuse to provide a patient record on the grounds that the patient owes the licensee an unpaid balance if the record is needed by another health care professional for the purpose of rendering care.+>>
(d) (No change.)