Richard Lavinthal, a consultant for PRforLaw, recently published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He cited a report from the Federal Trade Commission that stated that about 20% of America is suffering from a poor “credit health history.” Currently, the U.S. Department of Health has not established formalized methods for people to review their medical history at no charge and at regular intervals. This, he claims, can lead to people having their “health credit” suffer.
Case In Point
Mr. Lavinthal related a recent experience that he had when he was rejected by an insurance company when trying to obtain health insurance. The rejection was based upon his medical records that showed a “serious, life-altering diagnosis incorporated into a radiology test” that he had once received. He had never had that diagnosis, nor been treated for it. He was finally, and with some degree of difficulty, able to obtain a note from the radiologist stating that the diagnosis was incorrect and he was ultimately able to obtain health insurance. However, he was told that his medical records were “locked in stone” and could not be amended.
A major part of the medical records problem is that everyone’s medical information is dispersed among every physician, medical office, hospital, medical center, pharmacy and testing company that they have visited throughout their lifetime. Much of that data is transferred to electronic media and the amount of data that is transferred incorrectly is difficult to ascertain. Medical data that is transferred incorrectly, and that ultimately becomes part of one’s medical history, can harm a person’s finances, future and family.
Preventing Inaccurate Medical Records From Harming Our Lives
On an on-going basis, one should request a detailed invoice when treated by a physician. A detailed invoice will contain the procedure codes and the diagnosis codes that the physician used that will ultimately become a permanent part of the patient’s medical history. While most people will not know what these codes mean, their interpretation is readily available on the Internet. Therefore, a patient can confirm that the procedures and diagnoses going into their permanent medical history are correct. What can we, as medical care consumers, do to help prevent inaccurate medical records from harming our lives? First of all, one’s medical history is readily available and must be provided upon request to any patient by any health care facility at no charge, other than reasonable photocopying and postage charges. It is a good idea to request these medical records and verify their accuracy to avoid further problems, such as being denied or overpaying for health care coverage, down the road.
We Go To Great Lengths To Verify Our Clients’ Medical Records
Medical records are a crucial element of all workers’ compensation, social security disability and personal injury cases. At Shor & Levin, P.C., the Bulldog Lawyers, we go to great lengths to verify the accuracy of our clients’ medical records by:
- Constantly interacting with our clients’ treating physicians;
- Regularly requesting and reviewing their medical records;
- Consistently reviewing the testimony that our clients’ physicians will give at depositions and hearings to ensure that it is accurate and in the clients’ best interests.
The bottom line is that people should verify that their medical history is accurate and that any new medical treatment is recorded accurately (via a detailed invoice from the treating physician). Additionally, when confronted with a potential workers’ compensation, social security disability or personal injury claim, people should choose a law firm that is diligent in ensuring the accuracy of their medical records so that the claimants’ chances of winning their case are maximized. Shor & Levin, P.C. is that firm.