Medical Record
Retrieval

Case Works recognizes that retrieving a plaintiff’s medical records is perhaps the most crucial task in prosecuting a mass tort or personal injury case. Without Medical Records you cannot prove your case. It can also be one of the least straightforward parts of compiling a client’s case – but it doesn’t have to be.

Case Works can spare you from the complex process of ordering medical records, working with antiquated medical record facilities, and pressing them to deliver your client’s documents back as soon as possible. This is far too intricate and complex a task to accomplish independently.

Under HIPAA law, a “patient advocate” is one party legally permitted to request medical documents on behalf of a patient, and you should strive to be the best possible advocate you can by signing their medical authorization form ASAP. Most states hold onto medical documentation for five to ten years, but don’t hesitate to build a strong case from the jump and get ahead of the medical ordering process.

Additionally, avoid the time-consuming process of navigating a labyrinth of laws and rules, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Understanding HIPAA is important when ordering medical records, but that’s far from all there is to the process of ordering medical records..

Legal practitioners who do not outsource their medical records retrieval must also familiarize themselves with a wide swath of numerous complexities, such as:

  • Applicable state privacy laws, which can be stricter than HIPAA
  • Any relevant special authorizations which may be in use
  • The timely authorizations required by the medical service providers

Case Works has the necessary knowledge and expertise to wade through these complexities, thereby allowing law firms to leverage the Case Works’ Case Ready™ process to focus on the business of representing their clients and litigating the case.

Another trap for the unwary legal practitioner is identifying the proper custodian. Even the slightest failure to comply with applicable rules and regulations can prevent the receipt of the medical records, which can be critical in forming the bedrock of a mass tort or personal injury case. Fortunately, Case Works will help you avoid such pitfalls.

Case Works simplifies the complex medical records retrieval process through its dedicated team of experienced professionals who understand the complex nuances and skillfully navigate them every day.

Case Works has a practical understanding of HIPAA requirements relevant state law requirements and maintains solid working relationships with medical record providers. Case Works’ knowledge and solid relationships enable them to avoid the pitfalls inherent in obtaining medical records and deliver those records to law firms in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

Case Works Medical Record Retrieval Process

Case Works can efficiently obtain the medical records in a fraction of the time a law firm could obtain them and at a fraction of the cost. Saving time and money enhances the value of a particular case, and enables legal practitioners to devote more resources to their clients, thereby improving the quality of legal representation.

Obtaining medical records generally involves the following steps, which Case Works has the necessary skills and relationships to navigate efficiently:

1

The relevant providers must be identified, which is critical to avoid delays. Case Works has long-standing relationships with many providers and knowledge of the process, eliminating guesswork from this critical stage of the medical records retrieval process.

2

The patient or their authorized representative must complete the necessary authorizations. Additional authorizations may be required for sensitive info like psychiatric records or records verifying HIV status. You should obtain the permissions required for maximum efficiency at the beginning of the record retrieval process. Case Works is familiar with the authorizations that may be necessary to retrieve the cords and ensure compliance with the laws.

3

Tracking each request is a must. After the demand for medical records is submitted, the requesting party must regularly follow up with the provider to ensure prompt fulfillment of the request, correct any errors in the paperwork, or provide the missing information. Medical documentation correction is time-consuming for any law firm, but Case Works has the tools, experience, and resources to navigate this process efficiently and effectively.

4

Upon receipt of the medical records, Case Works will review them for accuracy, legibility, and completeness. After we complete this quality-control review, we will compile the information in the documents consistent with the requesting law firm’s litigation needs. From there, we will give the documents to the appropriate parties at the requesting law firm. Case Works’ quality control protocols ensure that the law firm can hit the ground running upon obtaining the requested medical records.

In mass tort cases involving hundreds or thousands of records, repeating this process takes a significant amount of time and can become unnecessarily complex or chaotic. But with Case Works on the job, no time is wasted, there is no unnecessary complexity, and there is no chaos. There is only efficiency and ease of review.

Types of Medical Records to Obtain

Among the types of medical records that Case Works can efficiently obtain are:

Records that may face more legal hurdles to disclose include:

  • Sensitive psychotherapy documents
  • ER records specific to company procedure
  • Info pertinent to an active lawsuit case
  • Documents with information that contain a 3rd party
  • Ongoing and incomplete medical research
  • Records sensitive to patient safety

Forms used to obtain medical records include:

HIPAA Authorization

Before a healthcare provider may release a patient’s medical records to a requesting law firm, the law firm must submit a written authorization from the patient. The United States Department for Health & Human Services, the federal agency charged with enforcing HIPAA, requires that a HIPAA authorization “must be in plain language, and contain specific information.” Case Works can ensure that the authorizations used will comply with HIPAA and any applicable specific state laws.

Death Certificate

Both a medical record and legal document, the primary purpose of a death certificate is to establish that an individual has passed away. Due to the fact a written authorization form from the patient is required for the release of medical records, a death certificate is provided in place, to support why a patient representative is providing the written consent to release their medical records. Death certificates can be difficult to obtain, but Case Works removes the difficulty from that process.

Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney, through which one person (a grantor) grants another (an agent) the legal authority to make medical decisions for the Grantor once the Grantor is unable to do so. A medical power of attorney grants the agent the authority to obtain the Grantor’s medical records or sign any authorization required to get them.

The Importance of HIPAA Compliance When Retrieving Medical Records

Medical records contain sensitive information, and respecting patient privacy and ensuring the security of their private health information (PHI) is paramount, especially during litigation. Case Works’ law firm clients have an ethical duty to maintain the privacy of a patient’s PHI, and Case Work takes those duties with utmost seriousness.

Case Works possesses in-depth knowledge of HIPAA requirements and the requirements imposed by state law, some of which can be stricter than HIPAA requirements. Privacy law is an ever-changing field. Case Works stays on top of new developments and constantly updates its proven PHI protective policies to ensure strict compliance, maximum protection, and avoidance of fines for failure to comply with HIPAA, which can be as high as $50,000.00 per violation.

Benefits of Outsourcing Medical Record Retrieval

Save Time & Reduce Costs

Outsourcing the collection of medical records saves law firms time and money by removing the burden and complexity of medical records retrieval from attorneys who must juggle multiple tasks daily.

Speed and Efficiency

The Case Works team is highly trained and experienced at retrieving medical records quickly and efficiently – often in as little as 14 days, instead of the months it can take to obtain medical records when law firms try navigating this on their own.

Verification

Case Works verifies that all necessary information is clear and accurate. Case Works can further identify missing or inaccurate information and follow-up with the provider to correct any deficiencies at no extra cost to the client.

Follow Up

Case Works spares you the time-consuming hassle of staying on top of providers and medical organizations to ensure that medical records are promptly processed.

Organization

How a provider organizes the records it sends in response to a request is often unorganized and leads to problems for review by internal law firm staff. Case Works manages and labels the medical records it obtains to ensure more efficient review by law firms.

Case Works’ medical record retrieval services will save you time and money. Contact us for more information about our medical record retrieval services and integrated case review services.