Medical records are a vital part of a disability case. Whether it’s Social Security or Short/Long Term Disability, you will only win your case with good quality medical records. We talked about how important they are in my post about the 15 reasons people get denied disability.
What does a “Good Quality Medical Record” mean?
Good quality medical records are notes from your doctor which describe very well what your medical conditions are. Ideally, they should also describe how your physical or mental impairments affect your ability to work.
These records should show what your Subjective complaints are, i.e., how you feel. They should also show Objective findings. That is, the doctor writes down what he sees or notices when he examines you.
There must also be an Assessment. This is kinda similar to objective findings but the doctor is now describing what the medical issue is based on his objective findings.
Finally, the notes should show the treatment plan your doctor is recommending for your condition. Those treatments can include medications, injections, therapy, surgery, etc.
Now that we know what the medical records should show, it’s time to talk about how to get them from your doctor.
Should an Attorney Order Your Medical Records?
A lot of attorneys don’t order records for prospective clients due to cost. If every attorney ordered records just to see if a case was worth taking, that attorney would be broke in the first week of opening his doors.
Attorneys who do order records for prospective clients will certainly come back with a bill eventually.
Here’s a secret that you may not know:
I know it’s convenient to have someone else do the legwork for you and order your medical records. But if an attorney orders medical records on your behalf this will cost you more money!
And you know why?
Doctors are used to getting requests from personal injury attorneys
Injury attorneys, unfortunately, have to pay top dollar for those records. So some doctors charge more thinking that disability attorneys have to do the same thing.
If you order the records yourself, some doctors may even give them to you for free. Or at least, at a very low cost.
The secret when ordering medical records is:
DO NOT MENTION YOU HAVE A LAWYER!
Nor that you are looking for one. A lot of office managers or receptionists will balk at your request if you mention there is a lawyer involved.
Some of them will say that you are not entitled to your records and that only an attorney can get them. This is not true!
What you should say instead is that
you need your medical records for your own records
That’s it! No need for too much explanation.
I also found that if you ask your doctor directly instead of his receptionist you will get less resistance in your request.
Of course, sometimes the doctor is too busy or the office has its own rules about records request. But know that if you order them yourself you will save a lot of money in the long run.
You may be thinking, “why am I hiring an attorney if he can’t even do that job?”.
Well, number 1, a good disability attorney knows you don’t have a lot of money. So if that attorney is any good he will do everything possible to help you save money. One of the ways to save a client’s money is to allow the client do some of the legwork in their case.
Second, the real work only begins AFTER the records arrive at the attorney’s desk, not before.
So this is about teamwork!
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Your role is to go to the doctor for treatment and get the medical records. And the attorney’s role is to get those records you provided and work his magic.
Saving money should always be in the mind of the attorney since costs are not included in the attorney’s fees.
An attorney is entitled to his representation fees AND costs in the case. Since most clients don’t like surprises when paying an attorney, you should get a clear picture of what the costs could be if the attorney has to do some of the legwork for you.
And if the attorney says he doesn’t charge for that service, get it in writing! I don’t like surprises when I pay fees, you should not either.
- Medical records are notes provided by your doctor describing your medical conditions and treatment plan.
- Most attorneys will charge extra for ordering medical records on your behalf.
- If you are looking to save money in your case, YOU should order the medical records directly from your doctors.
- Avoid requesting that the records be sent to the attorney’s office even if you are the one requesting them. Some medical offices end up billing the attorney who will then have to charge you!
Courses by Realtactics4disabilityclaims.com
You just learned how to order your Medical records and save money doing so, but do you know how to read your medical records to see if they are actually supporting your disability?
Learn how to read and how to improve your medical records like a pro with my new course “Medical Records Reading 101 for Disability Claimants”. Stop wasting time “hoping for the best” with your current records. The course also includes a Checklist and Worksheet so you can keep track of your treatment to make sure you don’t have any “gaps” that could jeopardize your claim. Take a quick “free sneak peek” before you purchase the course and learn the ins and outs of improving your medical records with actionable instructions from Yours Truly (Yes, Me!).
If you were denied disability and you are looking to appeal with “better” evidence, I created a course about using a Residual Functional Capacity Report to add to your medical records. This is a form you can take to your doctor to complete in support of your claim. The course includes forms for physical or mental impairments and instructions on how to ask your doctor to complete them. You can take a “free sneak peek” to see if this course is for you. Click on the image below and you will be directed to the course page:
Also, if you are looking to file for disability and don’t know where to start, I created a course called the “5 Day File your Disability Claim” Guide where I teach you every step you should take to file your claim.
Simply click on the image below and it will take you directly to the course page. Take a “free sneak peek” of the first lesson to see if this course is for you.
You know the blog, now you can take one step further and learn the process of preparing and filing your claim.
Please share this post with anyone you think could benefit from it.
Until next time,