Medical records are important for lots of legal cases. This is because most medical records contain pertinent information that would help a case. The problem is that it can be challenging to organize, retrieve, and analyze these records. When doing so, firms can run into some problems because if these records are not obtained properly, they will not be helpful to the parties that need them. Below, we will look at a few things law firms can do to ensure they retrieve medical records properly while helping them save time and money.
Get Proper Authorization
Before starting the records retrieval process, it is important that the law firm obtains permission from the patient. All providers are bound by the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and they need to see a signed request from the individual requesting the information. It makes the law firm’s work easier if they obtain a signed permission form from their client before starting the process.
It is also important to remember that different medical service providers might have their own authorization processes. Keep these in mind and follow them carefully to ensure there are no hiccups in the retrieval process.
Do Your Research
One of the things that makes it hard for a medical records retrieval company to find the records they need is because most records are not sent to the right departments. In many cases, people give their attorneys the address printed on their invoices. Usually, this is the address of the billing department and this department might not send the records to the right department. So, when the retrieval company comes looking for these records, they go looking in the wrong place.
Doing proper research to find out how the records are handled is, therefore, an important step in obtaining the right medical records.
Specify the Scope of the Retrieval Request
Law firms can either be too broad or too specific in their requests. If they are too broad, they may end up with records they do not need and if they are too specific, they may find they did not receive pertinent records they need. Therefore, it is important that the law firm outlines the scope of their request early on. This will eliminate both of the problems above.
Because every retrieval request has a cost, keeping the scope within bounds can help reduce these costs.
Manage and Track All Requests
Tracking every medical record retrieval request can get complicated because some things can slow the process down. For example, records can be displaced, be incomplete, not have the right authorization requests, or have missing payment information. To ensure that these or other factors do not interfere with the retrieval process, stay in constant contact with the custodian of the documents. This will help the firm be ready for any issues and give them time to formulate a plan on how to deal with any issues that arise.
Also, track all requests to know where they are along the pipeline. Endeavor to find out if the records have been found, released, or sent to the law firm.
Getting the right medical records can either help or sabotage a legal case. This is why it is so important that this process is handled with the utmost care.