Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 37
Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-37-22

§ 5-37-22. Disclosures.

(a)(1) Any physician who is not a participant in a medical insurance plan shall post a notice, in a conspicuous place in his or her medical offices where it can be read by his or her patients, that reads, in substance, as follows:

“To my patients:

I do not participate in a medical insurance plan. You should know that you shall be responsible for the payment of my medical fees.”

(2) Any physician who fails to post this notice shall not be entitled to charge his or her patients any amount for medical fees in excess of that allowed had the physician participated in a medical insurance plan.

(b) Every physician shall disclose to patients eligible for Medicare, in advance of treatment, whether the physician accepts assignment under Medicare reimbursement as payment in full for medical services and/or treatment in the physician’s office. This disclosure shall be given by posting in each physician’s office, in a conspicuous place, a summary of the physician’s Medicare reimbursement policy. Any physician who fails to make the disclosure as required in this section shall not be allowed to charge the patient in excess of the Medicare assignment amount for the medical procedure performed.

(c) When a patient requests, in writing, that his or her medical records be transferred to another physician or medical practice group, the original physician or medical-practice group shall promptly honor the request. The physician or medical-practice group shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses (as defined by the director pursuant to § 23-1-48) incurred in connection with copying the medical records.

(d) Every physician or medical-practice group shall, upon written request of any patient (or his or her authorized representative as defined in § 5-37.3-3(1)) who has received healthcare services from the physician or medical-practice group, at the option of the physician or medical-practice group either permit the patient (or his or her authorized representative) to examine and copy the patient’s confidential healthcare information, or provide the patient (or his or her authorized representative) a summary of that information. If the physician or medical-practice group decides to provide a summary and the patient is not satisfied with a summary, then the patient may request, and the physician or medical-practice group shall provide, a copy of the entire record. At the time of the examination, copying, or provision of summary information, the physician or medical-practice group shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses (as defined by the director pursuant to § 23-1-48) in connection with copying this information. If, in the professional judgment of the treating physician, it would be injurious to the mental or physical health of the patient to disclose certain confidential healthcare information to the patient, the physician or medical-practice group shall not be required to disclose or provide a summary of that information to the patient, but shall upon written request of the patient (or his or her authorized representative) disclose that information to another physician or medical-practice group designated by the patient.

(e) Every physician who has ownership interest in health facilities or laboratories, including any healthcare facility licensed pursuant to chapter 17 of title 23, any residential-care/assisted-living facility licensed pursuant to chapter 17.4 of title 23, any adult day-care program licensed or certified by the director of the office of healthy aging, or any equipment not on the physician’s premises, shall, in writing, make full patient disclosure of his or her ownership interest in the facility or therapy prior to utilization. The written notice shall state that the patient has free choice either to use the physician’s proprietary facility or therapy or to seek the needed medical services elsewhere.

(f) Every physician who makes a referral of a patient to receive physical therapy services shall provide the notice required by this section if the services are provided by employees or independent contractors of the physician or if the entity is one in which the physician has an ownership interest. Any such interest referenced in this paragraph shall be in accordance with federal and state law, specifically including, but not limited to, chapter 48.1 of this title.

(g) Unless otherwise expressly stated in writing by the medical-practice group, all medical records shall be the property of the medical-practice group with which a physician is associated when that physician created all such medical records. A medical-practice group shall provide patients with access to patients’ medical records in the same manner as is required of individual physicians under this chapter. To the extent a medical-practice group fails to provide access to patients in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, the individual officers of the medical-practice group (or in the absence of officers, the shareholders or owners of the medical-practice group), in their capacities as licensees of the board, shall be subject to the disciplinary powers of the board.

History of Section.
P.L. 1980, ch. 160, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 220, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 73, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 219, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 316, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 353, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 93, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 116, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 130, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 610, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 225, § 2; P.L. 2008, ch. 409, § 2.