Here’s a topic worth repeating:Record Requests Require Up-to-date HIPAA Forms
Let’s face it. There is a workflow that is consistent regardless of the size of the firm and whether the practice is Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Mass Tort or Class Action related to medical litigation.The client(s) complete an intake form, and at that time a HIPAA form is completed. Perfect!
Now let’s assume that the client has ongoing treatment. It may go on for months, even years. They are part of the medical records that are required to settle the matter or go to trial.
Here’s the problem
What if you request records from a medical provider several months after that initial intake and consultation? It’s quite likely that the request will be denied by the provider. Many attorneys and their staff do not realize is there is not one answer to how long a HIPAA release form is acceptable. The specific policy of the provider determines how long after a HIPAA form has been signed that they will accept it. Some healthcare providers may honor a signed form for 30, 90, even (in rare cases) 180 days after the date of signature.
Why it’s important?
There is a specific workflow to the process of requesting, collecting, and notifying a firm that records are ready for processing. When the HIPAA form is outdated, the entire process stalls, forcing you to go back to the client. They will sign a new form, and begin the workflow process again.
This is a waste of time for your staff (or you). It also impacts your ability to get the matter moving forward to closure.
What’s the best practice?
Make sure you have a recent signature on the HIPAA authorization form before you request medical records from a provider. This will ensure that your request will not be returned for an outdated HIPAA form. In fact, if the client is undergoing treatment, you should advise them that they will likely need to sign additional forms in the future.It is unlikely there is a firm end date if, for example, they are going through physical therapy.
The Bottom Line
HIPAA forms are a necessity of the medical record requests and fulfillment. Outdated forms create frustration for the provider, your client and your staff. Make the process of timely HIPAA forms a part of your office procedures. You and your client will discover a smooth, frictionless way of getting medical records.
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