In these uncertain times, current or new clients may need legal services that will require national retrieval of their medical records. When it comes to the judicial system, there isn’t any room for error or delay. Your legal client’s medical records could be the most crucial piece of evidence that will decide a case. However, the reality is that requesting access to medical records nearly always involves communication with numerous healthcare providers and inefficient processes that creates delays. Keep reading to see how your firm can simplify medical records retrieval.
A Growing Demand
Imagine living in fear of the person who shares your home where every day is a nightmare of name-calling, criticism, control of what you wear or eat, and physical violence. Now imagine that you are trapped in that house with that person while the world is struggling with an ongoing health crisis. For women already in unsafe situations under the shadow of domestic violence, self-isolation could be fatal. In toxic relationships, all the methods women might have incorporated to relieve their distress can become unavailable during a national or local emergency. Some will connect with friends online, but that does not take them away physically from the problems and dangers in their relationship. There’s nowhere to go when you are in lockdown. Coercive and violent partners will see this as an opportunity to up the ante because now they essentially have a captive. The adverse effects of the pandemic are felt most acutely among those classified as vulnerable – the sick, the old, the financially insecure. Women and children trapped in abusive and unhappy relationships also fall into the vulnerable category. Law enforcement is already reporting that the number of domestic abuse cases is rising.
Domestic violence isolates victims from their support system as part of emotional or psychological abuse, a tactic commonly used by offenders. As their world gets smaller and smaller, women may not be able to use the strategies that have kept them safe in the past. They cannot physically leave the house to find help. While most women are aware of the warning signs of escalation and have worked toward handling them, the issue now is how to escape a violent or potentially violent situation if they cannot leave the house to even make a lifesaving phone call. Layoffs attributed to the COVID-19 virus have worsened these scenarios, since normally when women are preparing to and eventually leave, they do so when their abuser is at work. Now he’s not at work. He’s right there, he’s everywhere. Uncertainty is a trigger, many experts say, because abusers are most often extremely controlling of their partners’ lives to begin with, and now uncertain times are leaving them with frustratingly little control over many aspects of their own lives so he is going to be taking that out on her.
Economic stress hinders a woman’s ability to flee. Furloughed from work, too many women are finding themselves unable to leave violent homes because they are financially dependent on their abusive partner to support their families. Without access to daycare, and unable to lean on family members or anybody for help increases the pressure. Add to that the closures of public spaces and the issues are exacerbated. Even if she wanted to go out, everywhere is shut down that she normally would have gone, whether it is the community center, the mall, or the library. She is confined to her home with the person who is abusing her.
Domestic Violence is rooted in control and in power. Because of the pandemic, everyone is feeling a lack of control over their lives and an abuser who cannot manage that will take it out on his victim. During times of crisis such as this, the risk of violence toward women escalates, and in many cases, legal intervention occurs.
The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) became law to support the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposing automatic and mandatory restitution on convicted abusers and allowing victims to seek compensation through civil lawsuits even when the abuser wasn’t convicted on criminal charges. Since VAWA went into effect, police, prosecutors, state and local courts, and victim services have worked together to protect and support abuse victims as never before. Once the abuser is finally arrested, the prosecutor’s job is to do everything legally and ethically possible to protect the victim’s safety and well-being.
Simplify Medical Records Retrieval
So where does an attorney get medical records if the provider is not in his local area? With Law Ruler’s Medical Record Retrieval, records can be ordered nationally. With the click of a mouse, you will have full access to select which records or bills you would like to retrieve. Law Ruler’s Medical Record Retrieval module simplifies the record ordering process and the savings are passed on to your firm through affordable pricing. When the records become available, all data is encrypted using 256-bit (AES) encryption – the standard for protecting sensitive data for banking, government, and military-grade applications, your firm is notified, and the records are automatically downloaded and available as searchable PDF files. When medical record retrieval is outsourced to a 3rd party, you could be reimbursed for all costs. If you include the appropriate language in your client retainer agreements, you can expense all these costs to each case. Using one platform for everything saves your staff time, and having a linear process makes things easier for everyone.
So, which sounds easier?
Outsource with Law Ruler
Inside Law Ruler, our partners use a 3-touch point follow up approach with a live call center agent and weekly electronic follow-ups, ensuring that your firm will get the very best in turnaround time for medical record retrieval orders. From inside of your Law Ruler legal practice management software system your paralegal enters the provider information. When the records become available, they can be downloaded into the client’s file and your legal team can be notified.
Do it yourself/in-house
Your staff paralegal will spend considerable time drafting a memo to request medical records calling every provider repeatedly. After they reach someone and if it is it’s the correct department, they are ultimately able to fax over a record request. Then you wait weeks or months with more phone calls and faxes. Finally, your office receives the fax and or mailed copy of the records and the office pays for the labor and record costs from the budget. After all that, it must be downloaded to your computer, then manually upload it in your legal case management software system. That’s a lot of steps. And a lot of time. The time that your client usually does not have.
During uncertain times, we all need to be able to reach out and help each other as efficiently as possible. If your law firm can obtain medical records in a fast and comprehensive manner, untold victims of domestic abuse can be better served as they navigate through the court system. Law Ruler’s all-in-one legal practice management and intake software provides fast turn-around, secure, embedded ordering, and simplified medical records retrieval for lawyers who need to order records nationally for mass tort and injury cases.
Simplifying Medical Records Retrieval | Mass Tort and Injury Law Firms