ROCHESTER, Mich. (WXYZ) - As grieving family members look to uncover more about the care their loved ones received from Dr. Farid Fata, the oncologist under federal investigation, some loved ones say a local hospital is charging too much to release medical records.
At Crittenton Hospital, records requests are done by a third party company. Officials say charges for these records are merely a matter of policy, all as patient families tell us they're not happy with the bill.
"And the night that he passed away, his kidney's failed and that was his ultimate cause of death." said Jeff Berz, looking back at those final days with his father.
Berz can't help but wonder whether Fata helped or hurt his father's cancer treatment. It's why he and scores of others are now requesting records from area hospitals. Berz learned his request to Crittenton Hospital would take seven to thirteen days to process. He would also receive a bill.
As Berz waits for the invoice, Patty Parzych already got hers. She made a request for her late brother, who was also under the care of Dr. Fata.
"I received an invoice totaling close to $1100." said Parzych, "And I was quite surprised by that."
"People can't afford over a thousand dollars for hospital records." said Berz, "There are many who won't be able to afford that."
"We don't want to make the decision as to who's more important and who's not." said Crittenton spokesperson Brian Birney, "We value every single patient we have."
Crittenton says if a current patient is requesting records for treatment reasons, the records are free. The charge comes only if the request is for personal or legal reasons. Hospital officials say its records policy has been in place for years.
"And we don't want people that have been here or family members that have been here in the past to feel that this situation takes precedence over theirs." said Birney.
"I think there's always an exception to the process." said Berz.
Loved ones at the center of Fata's investigation say the hospital should reconsider.
"We are a unique group of people because we've all fallen victim to one doctor." said Berz.