Negotiating the Maze II: Medical Records

You build your case on your medical records. Your medical records, before and after your date of injury, will prove that you did not have an injury before and you were injured afterwards. They will show that you did not need treatment before but needed treatment afterwards. They will show that you were not disabled before but you were disabled afterwards.

Do not trust the insurance company to collect all your medical records for you. If you are preparing to file, or have filed, a claim then the insurance company is not your friend.

It’s your job to prepare your case and to do that you need your complete medical records from at least two years prior to your date of injury. If you did have issues with the injured body part before (lots of people do – it’s not the end of your case), then you need to collect medical records from two years prior to any problems you had.

You are entitled to your medical records under Alaska law. To obtain them, you need to call your doctor’s office. If you sit through the options on the doctor’s answering system, there is usually an option for “records.” Select that option. Tell them you want a complete set of your medical records. If there isn’t any such option, ask the receptionist.

When you obtain your medical records, make a copy of them and put the original medical records in a safe place. DO NOT WRITE ON YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS. They are evidence. If you write on them, you have tainted the evidence and they will be inadmissible. You may need to copy them multiple times as your case progresses.

I keep the original medical records in separate file folders for each provider. When I obtain updates, I put the originals in that provider’s file folder.

When you have made a copy of your medical records, you need to sort the copies in chronological order and prepare medical summary forms. This is the medical summary form:  wc6103 - Medical Summary.

Feel free to download the form. Save a blank form to your database, then make a new copy for each medical summary you prepare. You can type directly on it. The form is also available, as are all forms, at the Alaska Workers Compensation Board's website: http://labor.state.ak.us/wc/pdf_list.htm.

Each record needs to be listed individually. Yes, it is tedious. But you will be happy later that you listed the records individually in chronological order because it will be easy for you to refer to. It will also make the Board’s life easier later on if they have to look for a particular record in your file. The codes to be used in the third column are listed on the bottom of the form. Here is a sample of a medical summary I prepared: wc6103 - Medical Summary sample

When you are finished with the form, print, sign and date on the bottom. You will probably need more than one form for all your records.

Then you take the medical summary and the records it lists and make two copies of it. You need to file the original medical summary form that you signed and dated, together with the records, with the Workers Compensation Board. Generally there are too many records for the Board’s electronic filing system to accept; it’s just easier to mail it or deliver it yourself. You need to mail a copy of everything to opposing counsel or the insurance company if there is no opposing counsel and you need to keep a copy for your own files.

If you continue treating as your case progresses, you will need to collect your medical records periodically and create medical summaries for them as well. How frequently you update your records depends on how frequently you treat. When you are going to hearing, you will need to have your complete medical records. You need to file your evidence 20 days before the hearing so give the doctors plenty of time to respond to your request for updated records and allow yourself plenty of time to create the medical summaries. It’s a good idea to ask for the updates 30 days before your deadline for filing evidence.

Keenan Powell has practiced law in Alaska for more than 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans.

All consultations are free.  If you want to set up a meeting, use the contact form on www.keenanpowell.com or call:  907 258 7663.

 

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