A proposed state law that would limit the amount hospitals can charge patients for copies of their medical records passed the S.C. House of Representatives without opposition on Thursday.

The bill was introduced by House Speaker Bobby Harrell before the Legislature convened in January.

In a December interview with The Post and Courier, Harrell said he thought it was "absurd" that hospitals are still allowed to charge patients 65 cents per page for electronic copies of their medical records. Those per page rates were established by the South Carolina Physicians' Patient Records Act in 1992.

West Ashley resident Gloria Aslanidis contacted Harrell's office about updating the state law after Medical University Hospital charged her $3,800 for a CD copy of her father's medical record earlier last year.

The record was several thousand pages long and the hospital charged Aslanidis 65 cents for the first 30 pages and 50 cents for each additional page. Those were the maximum rates set by the 1992 state law.

The original version of Harrell's bill would have allowed hospitals to charge patients a maximum $15 clerical fee to produce a digital copy. The bill was eventually amended in committee.

The version passed by the House on Thursday set the clerical fee to a maximum $20 and set the per page rate to 10 cents.

Hospitals could charge patients the per page rate up to a maximum $150 for a digital copy of their record and a maximum $250 for a hard copy.

The bill must be approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley to become law.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.