Monday, December 30, 2013

Tips for Requesting and Acquiring Medical Records for Litigation for Law Firms

Medical records being a key element in personal injury and medical malpractice litigation, attorneys often have to request for the relevant patient medical records. Usually, paralegals are put on the job and if they don’t know how to go about it, considerable time and effort are likely to go waste. This article highlights certain tips that would prove useful to attorneys and their paralegals setting out to collect medical records for purposes of litigation.

Requesting Patient Records for Medical Record Review

• Make a list of all the healthcare providers involved in providing care to the claimant. This list should be comprehensive with accurate contact information for each provider. In this way, it will be easy for you to decide which records to request for.
• Ask for all records that the providers have in their possession. Make sure that you have included all relevant records. Cost should not be the priority. It is best to have even medical records you may not actually need rather than foregoing records that may turn out to be relevant at some later stage.
• When receiving medical records especially from hospitals, be extra careful in ensuring that the record set is complete. A notified affidavit that the hospital may send with the records can only account for the authenticity of the records, not their comprehensiveness.
• It is important to scrupulously compare the medical record data with the medical history provided by the patient.

Acquiring the Relevant Medical Records – How and When

Providers have to make the medical records available on request. Find out the procedure of requesting records, which may differ with each provider. Direct communication with the provider will also enable you to identify unavailable records – those that you may have to obtain from another source. Medical records may be accessible through the physician’s office. If the physician practice is owned by a healthcare system or hospital, request has to be made to a central records resource.

HIPAA has made the procurement of medical records rather complicated with many providers in the dark as to when and how they can safely share their patients’ healthcare data. Usually, providers have their own authorization forms that you may have to use. In such cases it is vital that it is evaluated thoroughly and also ensure that it will give you access to all the required medical records.

Medical record requests should be placed as soon as you decide to take up the case because medical record collection is a long process. Pharmacy bills, prescriptions, hospital and medical bills are all important as they would help to assess the damages in each case. Medical records maintained by third party payers must also be collected to substantiate

The above tips should help you get started on the medical record acquiring process. For purposes of medical record collection and organization, you can always count on the valuable support of a reliable medical review company.

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