[Editor’s note. As noted in prior posts, due to the high direct and indirect costs of unfocused and overly broad discovery, I have decided to examine in depth the various issues that most contribute to unnecessary and excessive discovery costs. One of the most costly of discovery costs is the costs associated with medical records acquisition and review. Below is the third piece on this issue by my colleague, Don Douglass, on the issue of medical records review and evaluation and management of the medical records documents. Don is an experienced reviewer/auditor of legal bills and is a former insurance defense lawyer with over 30 years of experience. John Conlon]
Controlling Medical Records Acquisition & Review Costs
Donald D. Douglass
In two previous blog posts, I discussed the importance of controlling the litigation expense of obtaining and reviewing medical records. I identified three things to consider for effective financial management: the necessity of records being ordered, the appropriate billing practices for the process of obtaining the records and the proper staffing for the review, summary and evaluation of the records.
In my first two posts on this subject, I addressed managing the necessity of the records being ordered and the appropriate billing procedures for the routine and form driven process of ordering records. (See previous two blog posts below.) This post addresses the third and final consideration: proper staffing for medical records reviews, evaluations, and document management.
There is no question that once the medical records are received by counsel, the most important cost control factor is the proper staffing of the review, summary, evaluation and document management of these records. Therefore, it is vital to examine the firm’s system for handling medical records to determine if the appropriate level of staff (i.e., attorney, paralegal, or clerical assistant) has been assigned to handle each of the distinct steps involved in the process. Continue reading