Well this is the post of Christmas "present" ...meaning in the here and now. I say that because this ruling is no Christmas gift to Dr. Irwin Lifrak who has the distinction of being the first doctor fined for excess photocopy charges, in violation of 19 Del. Code Section 2322D.
Yikes!! Is this more frightening than Marley's ghost or what?
To keep it brief, Dr. Lifrak sought to charge the sum of $75.00 for what purported to consist of 18 pages of medical records. Pursuant to the Health Care Practice System ("HCPS"), fees are now set by statute for various services including nonclinical activity such as retrieving, copying and transmitting medical records and reports, depositions, and live medical testimony at hearing. The appropriate charge for the records sought by defense counsel from Dr. Lifrak should have been $47.50.
Even upon being notified of the allowable rate for copies under the HCPS, the doctor insisted on a pre-payment of $75.00 for the records, or in the alternative, offered up that the attorney could come to his office and make her own copies, with the proviso that she "bring her own copying equipment and electricity." [Talk about "ignorance" and "want"....apparently those spirits were in Dr. Lifrak's office in full force]
Dr. Lifrak testified at the December 2, 2010 Legal Hearing that his only obligation was to "produce" the records by making them available to counsel and that there was no requirement that he utilize his own staff and office resources to actually make the copies.
Shades of Ebenezer Scrooge before he was visited by the ghosts of Christmas? Love of gold trumping love of fair dealing, provider certification or statutory compliance? Recognizing that as a certified provider Dr. Lifrak has an obligation to respect the mandates of the Delaware workers compensation law and rules, the Board imposed a fine of $1000.00 pursuant to 19 Del. Code Section 2322F(g), noting that this was a first offense and as such, the minimum fine was appropriate. Section 2322F(g) allows for a fine of up to $5000.00 per violation.
How is that for a happy ending?
What case is this? Durran Hyland v. Southern Wine & Spirits, IAB # 1357775 (12/7/10) (Order). The role of Bob Cratchitt was played by attorney Michael Freebery and Belle (on behalf of the employer) was capably assumed by the lovely Jessica Julian (apparently too delicate and frail to carry a photocopier to Dr. Lifrak's office...:>)
I wish you all a wonderful and blessed holiday. May your ensuing days consist of shiny tinsel, gifts wrapped under the tree, fellowship with family and friends....and of course the taste of cheesecake to go with that hot mulled cider or Christmas punch. If you prefer figgy pudding....well that's your loss.
And a parting thought-- God bless us, everyone!
Merry Christmas! Cassandra Roberts
Visit Delaware Detour & Frolic, a law blog by Cassandra Roberts