Once our office has duly executed HIIPA authorizations, we then have the ability to order your medical records from all providers, including primary physicians, orthopedists, neurologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, etc.
The federal government created the HIIPA laws to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to their medical history. The laws were enacted as the AIDS crisis mounted and people with debilitating diseases were being discriminated against in the workplace, in housing, etc. Now in order to disclose any medical record, a patient must giver permission, in writing, to the health care provider, to release medical records. The authorization must include the name of the provider, the dates of treatment, and the dates of treatment that the patient wishes to disclose. It must be dated and is valid for a finite period of time.
A provider, pursuant to the Public Health Laws of New York, is permitted to charge 75 cents per page plus postage. Generally speaking the period of time that it takes to receive the records is 6 to 8 weeks.
Due to the rise in digital records, it is our policy to also request records in digital form (i.e., on a CD Rom). We can then send those records to an insurance company via email. If not, we also are able to scan the records for the same purposes.
Once we receive the copies of your records, they are then given a label and cover page and then are filed under “medical records” in your folder. Your folder is given a label for the front cover which contains the contact information for the defendant’s insurance company, as well as the information regarding the policy limits of the defendant’s insurance company.
This process enables any employee of the law firm to access all medical records related to the client’s accident, as well as insurance information. The client’s folders are filed alphabetically in our main filing cabinet. Again, this provides easy access to all employees who are working on different parts of the client’s case.
Approximately 6 to 8 months after the initial meeting, medical records and other evidence is mailed (or emailed) to the appropriate person at the defendant’s insurance company. We also include additional original HIIPA authorizations in order for the insurance company to order them on their own. Photos of the accident scene, photos of a client’s injuries, copies of police and accident reports, etc. are included in the package.
Next we will discuss the process that begins once an insurance company receives your records, including settleent negotiations and recommendation of arbitration and / or mediation.