How to Retrieve Medical Records
Medical records are crucial because they can make or break the case. Your medical records are needed to prove your injuries, the severity of your injuries, and the treatment that you have received. If you enlist the services of a medical malpractice attorney, your attorney requires them to:
- Determine if the injuries sustained were caused by the defendant’s negligence.
- Decide damages and liable parties.
- Recognize any loopholes that can hurt your case.
- Prepare for expert review.
Medical record retrieval can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.
A Patient’s Rights Under HIPAA
The State and Federal laws govern how you and others may access your medical records. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures your right to privacy, limiting who can access and receive your private medical information. The HIPAA has also established a regulatory framework for accessing your medical records which includes:
- Fees for the issue of copies of your medical records.
- How long medical service provider should save and store your records.
- The duration of time within which the medical service providers have to respond to requests for records.
Requesting Your Medical Records
Most hospitals and health-care providers have HIPAA compliant forms that they will ask you to fill before releasing your medical records. Requests for your medical records must be made in writing by you or by your representative. If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney can request your records and deal with insurance companies.
Useful Tips for Retrieving Medical Records
We possess the expertise and experience to retrieve, secure, and organize medical records. We suggest:
- Make an error-free request.
A single error may lead to a delay in getting your request processed. The wording you use can impact your medical record retrieval request. You will need to know the records you are looking for and need to know how to ask for them successfully.
- Ensure you are being charged fairly.
Medical records retrieval can be an expensive process. Even though HIPAA has laid out guidelines for medical service providers to charge fairly, a lot of instances of “unreasonable fees” being charged are common.
- Make sure you send the request to the correct department.
It is important to identify and locate the department from which you wish to collect your medical records. Call and verify the details before sending a request to the right department at their correct address.
- Seek only important and relevant records.
Collecting unnecessary records can be time-consuming and an expensive exercise. Request records that will validate and strengthen your claim.
- Follow-up regularly on request placed.
As per federal laws, requests must be met by medical service providers within 30 days of providing a record request receipt. Gentle reminders can be sent from time to time to speed up the process. If the medical service provider has an online portal, register on it to track the status of your request.
- Organize medical records.
It is important that you properly organize your obtained medical records to use them more efficiently and effectively. This enables you or your attorney to find necessary information quickly for preparing and presenting your case.
The Medical Records That You Need to Retrieve
Our Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Lawyers deal with medical records quite frequently. They know how to navigate through the complex and complicated environment of protected health information. According to our skilled and experienced lawyers, the most common pieces of medical documentation that will play an integral role in a personal injury claim besides incident reports and photo, video, and audio documentation include:
- Initial Examination Information
- Diagnostic tests
- Medical Procedures
- Doctor’s written notes
- Prognosis Information
- Prescriptions (both short and long term)
- Pre-existing conditions
- Medical-related expenditure
Insurance companies rely on medical records to validate injury claims. Insurance companies may ask you to sign a release form before they process your claim. Although HIPAA protects against the unauthorized release of private medical information, some insurance companies can go through your past medical records to find something that they can use to deny or minimize your claim.
You should consult Kaire and Heffernan before signing any release forms or giving any statements to insurance companies. As most attorneys represent victims on a contingency fee basis, it is in your best interests to enlist the services of an experienced Medical Malpractice/Personal Injury lawyer to seek adequate compensation for damages sustained.