Member FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions from member offices can be found here.  If you have a suggestion for an item to be added here, please contact the IDS administrative office -- 847-680-1666 or by email -- to submit your topic.

The information provided here is offered as a convenience to our members and is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for the guidance you may receive from your legal counsel or other professional consultants.  This information provided below is from sources we believe to be reliable. 

How long must a doctor keep a patient's medical records? 

Hospitals in Illinois must keep patient records for at least ten years, but there is no law stating how long physicians must keep medical records. 

Can a physician charge a patient for copies of medical records? 

Updated March 2017 -- The US Department of Health and Human Services has released guidelines concerning individual access to protected health information.  This includes format, timeliness and copy fees, among other things.  Please note -- Federal Law (including the HIPAA regulations) supersedes state statutes.  Thus, the federal regulations take precedence over what the Illinois Comptroller's Office and Illinois state statutes provide.

The Illinois State Medical Society has published a guide concerning access and copying charges to individual medical records, including what the federal HIPAA rules require.  

CLICK HERE to download a PDF copy of the ISMS document.  

Bear in mind that we are providing this guidance as a potential resource to Illinois dermatology practices.  It is not a substitute for legal advice, but is intended to help covered entities in Illinois to understand how the HHS guidance under HIPAA can be reconciled with Illinois law.

Illinois State Law -- (Remember - Federal law supersedes state law.  Please refer to the document noted above for additional information.  

If a patient requests copies of medical records, Illinois state statutes provide for the following charges:

    • A $26.58 handling charge for processing the request for copies,
    • $1.00 per page for pages 1-25,
    • $0.66 per page for pages 26-50,
    • $0.33 per page for pages 51+,
    • No more than $1.66 per page for any copies made from microfiche or microfilm, and actual shipping costs.

Records that are retrieved from digital formats do not qualify as microfiche or microfilm for the purposes of these charges.

  • For electronic records, retrieved from a scanning, digital imaging, electronic information or other digital format in a electronic document, a charge of 50% of the per page charge for paper copies listed above. This per page charge includes the cost of each CD Rom, DVD, or other storage media.

          Click here to view more information on the Illinois Comptroller's website. 

Does a doctor have to provide copies of medical records to patients who haven't paid their medical bills? 

The Code of Ethics of the American Medical Association states that medical records should not be withheld because a patient has unpaid medical bills. 

Can a physician in Illinois dispense prescription drugs? 
Yes.  A physician may dispense prescription drugs in Illinois, although there are some restrictions on how the drugs must be labeled.  Any prescription drug dispensed by a physician must be labeled with the following information:
  • the date on which the drug is dispensed,
  • the patient's name,
  • the last name of the person dispensing the drug,
  • the directions for use of the prescription, and
  • the established name (s) of the drug and the dosage and quantity.

          View a copy of the Illinois state law pertaining to dispensing:  CLICK HERE (PDF file)

What is the statute of limitations for filing of medical malpractice claims?

Any action for personal injury or death against a physician or hospital must be filed within two years from the date the claimant knew or reasonably should have known of the injury. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/13-212 (West 1992). In no instance may a claimant bring an action more than four years after the date on which the alleged act or omission occurred. Id. This statute of repose is constitutional. Mega v. Holy Cross Hospital, 111 Ill. 2d 416, 490 N.E.2d 665 (1986).

If the claimant was under the age of eighteen when the cause of action accrued, the limitation period is eight years from the date of the alleged act or omission, except that in no event may such an action be filed after the minor claimant's 22nd birthday. Id. If the claimant is mentally incompetent, the period of limitations does not begin to run until the disability is removed. Id.

Wrongful death actions are governed by a different two-year statute of limitations that begins to run on the date of death. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 180/2 (West Supp. 2002). However, such an action can only be brought if, on the date of death, the decedent could still have commenced a malpractice action for the injury that caused the death. Wolf v. Bueser, 279 Ill. App. 3d 217, 664 N.E.2d 197, cert. denied, 168 Ill. 2d 629, 671 N.E.2d 745 (1996).


The following links will connect you with information related to skin care and skin disease.

Diseases and treatments -  American Academy of Dermatology

Skin cancer - American Cancer Society 

Psoriasis - National Psoriasis Foundation

General skin care - American Academy of Dermatology

Other Resources

Find a Dermatologist by searching the IDS membership directory



Last Updated on Friday, March 10, 2017 03:44 PM