Retrieving your Client’s Medical Records

Seven Strategies for Success

It’s an essential step towards building your case – but it’s oftentimes the most burdensome. For lawyers and attorneys, retrieving your client’s medical records can be a lengthy and complicated process.

Whether your client suffered an injury at work, in a motor vehicle accident, or is pursuing a malpractice lawsuit, you will need to collect the relevant electronic health records essential to covering the full applicable range of dates.

You must prove that a specific incident caused your client’s symptoms of pain and/or reduced mobility; simply explaining the symptoms in court will not be enough to win your case. When representing a client, you must provide the judge with documentation of symptoms, treatment, progress, and billing records to ensure they receive the settlement they deserve.

Don’t lose a case due to avoidable issues like insufficient medical information. You should follow these seven ROI strategies to help ensure providers return your medical records requests as quickly as possible.

1: Do your research

Medical records are priced based on several factors, including federal, state, and local statutes, varying provider fees, and the page count of a request. The costs can add up quickly. By requesting only the minimum necessary records, you can reduce the workload, save money, and get your records sooner.

Be specific when choosing the scope of records. You should know the reason for treatment, the range of dates of service, and the type(s) of records required. Additionally, you should know the doctor’s office information, such as their name, address, phone and fax numbers, and facility size. Call the facility ahead of time to inquire about their preferred method of receiving records requests, and check-in afterward to ensure that they received it.

2: Have your patient fill out a valid authorization form

Safeguarding protected health information (PHI) is integral to maintaining compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the authorization form helps ensure records are not shared against patients’ will. The HIPAA privacy rule outlines the patient’s right to access their PHI, and covered entities must follow these guidelines to avoid legal issues when retrieving copies of your client’s medical records.

Authorization forms can be signed in-person or electronically, and you will need this signature before you submit your request. ChartRequest simplifies this process by allowing you to send your client an authorization form to electronically sign, eliminating the headache of tracking down that signature.

3: Request your records as soon as you can

Getting the medical records you need after a court date will do you no good, so it’s integral that your request is completed as quickly as possible. Begin gathering your authorization and request forms as early in the process as possible. Requesting the records you need sooner will help them be returned at an earlier date.

The time required for retrieving your client’s medical records varies, as providers can sometimes get bogged down by an abundance of requests. HIPAA requires providers to return protected health information within 30 days of receiving a request, but providers are allowed one extension up to an additional 30 days with a valid reason.

If the provider uses this extension, they must offer a written statement listing the cause of the delay and the date they will fulfill the request. Reasons for a delay may include the following:

  • Your request is incomplete or incorrect 
  • The provided authorization was invalid or no authorization was provided
  • The records are archived and difficult to access

If your request is urgent and you are unable to wait the full time, ChartRequest offers a “Rush Request” service for select providers to help you get your requested records within 48 hours for an additional fee.

4: Get to know your providers

In addition to knowing a provider’s name and contact information, acquainting yourself with their ROI policies and preferences may help reduce the time you are kept waiting for a request.

Additionally, developing a positive professional relationship with the providers from whom you frequently request records can generate additional perks. A provider may be inclined to expedite your request if they recognize your name, and they’ll likely try to help if you need a clinical review performed.

It’s easy to communicate with the providers processing your records requests with ChartRequest’s “Provider Chat” feature. Send secure messages anytime, and we will notify them so they can respond as soon as possible.

5: Check-in on your request

In the judicial system, there’s no room for delays. Don’t let providers lose or forget your records request; send reminder faxes, emails, or make phone calls to check the status of your request. Providers must fulfill your request within 30 days in most cases, but you can reduce this timeframe by sending gentle nudges.

With ChartRequest, users can check the status of their requests at any time within seconds of logging in. Any additional questions or information can be directed to the provider chat, which is the easiest way to reach out to the providers processing your requests.

Additionally, our active retrieval service completely outsources the follow-up process to ensure a timely return. We keep a complete log of all activity regarding each request, including every attempt to reach out to the provider.

6: Understand any additional services you may need

Every case is unique, and some may require additional forms or verifications. When making a request, it is essential that you know which additional services you will need, so you can communicate them clearly with the provider.

We make it easy to request additional services, such as the following:

  • Record Certification
  • Affidavit
  • Witness Fee
  • Archived Records Search
  • Notarize Records
  • Disability Form
  • Medical Images
  • Film Breakdown
  • Deposition Forms
  • FMLA Form(s)
  • Form Completion

7: Find software to help expedite the process

Reduce both overhead cost and administrative burden by utilizing dedicated software to handle your ROI needs. Submitting a request for records with ChartRequest takes just a few minutes, and our streamlined workflow ensures you don’t miss an essential step.

ChartRequest also offers total visibility regarding your request. We can send you text or email notifications about any updates so you’re always in the loop. Additionally, our expert support staff will help if you get stuck at any point along the way. 

Schedule a software demo today, and see for yourself all the ways ChartRequest will revolutionize the way you obtain medical records.