WI Supreme Court
Case Name: Andrea Townsend v. ChartSwap, LLC,
Case No.: 2021 WI 86
Focus: Statutory Interpretation – Health Care Records – Fee Restrictions
We review the court of appeals’ decision reversing the circuit court’s dismissal of Andrea Townsend’s claim against ChartSwap, LLC (“ChartSwap”) for unlawfully overcharging her for copies of her medical records in contravention of the fee restrictions set out in Wis. Stat. § 146.83(3f) (2017-18). On appeal, ChartSwap urges us to reverse the court of appeals, arguing that the statutory fee restrictions do not apply to it because it is not a health care provider, which is statutorily defined, and because principles of agency law do not impose personal liability on it for the fees it charged.
We conclude that, under a plain meaning interpretation of Wis. Stat. § 146.81(1), ChartSwap is not a health care provider; and, therefore, it is not subject to the fee restrictions in Wis. Stat. § 146.83(3f)(b), which regulate health care providers. Additionally, we conclude that neither common law principles of agency nor the plain meaning of Wis. Stat. § 990.001(9) supports the conclusion that an agent is personally liable for charging more for health care records than the statute permits its principal to charge. Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the court of appeals.