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Watertown Daily Times: Bill ensures free access to personal health records

By Jen Jackson, 9/19

ALBANY — A new law signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week aims to streamline the application process for Social Security, veteran’s benefits, disability benefits and more.

The bill ensures New Yorkers free access to their own medical records for those applying for government programs like Medicaid benefits and Social Security.

It was previously prohibited by the state to charge people who are unable to pay for their medical records.

However, determining who qualifies as unable to pay the various fees was considered “complicated” and an imperfect process by architects of the bill. “Current law does provide free access,” the bill reads. “However, the fee waiver is routinely ignored and is poorly enforced.”

“We have a right to our own medical records,” Assembly Health Committee Chair and bill sponsor Richard N. Gottfried said in a public statement. “Paying for hundreds of pages is a barrier to getting public benefits for low income New Yorkers.”