Another rant

29 Dec

I generally try not to get aggravated with a group of people based on their job description alone, but I’ve had it with medical records custodians today. 

I know that paralegals and law firms in general are not the favorite people of medical records custodians (MRC’s).  Honestly, the feeling is mutual.  Why, oh why, is it that I can get 2 copies of the same medical record, made at different times, and come up with 2 almost entirely different charts?  Is it not obvious that getting accurate copies of the records is important?   I mean, it’s just a lawsuit that people have probably agonized over filing in the first place (I hope), a good sum of money has been paid to even file the suit, lawyers have been obtained, probably experts, too, and let’s not forget that we are dealing with issues concerning the health of the plaintiff and also the profession of the defendant, in the case of medical malpractice.   I guess it’s just not inherently obvious to some people that they might actually need to pay attention to what it is that they are copying.  Are some pages 2 sided?  Do ya think somebody might be interested in what is written on the back side of that page?  Did an entire inch of information down the right side get cut off on the copy?  Maybe you might want to take that Post-it note off the page so we can read the progress note underneath it?

I’ve spent a large amount of time recently comparing a set of records that was received pursuant to an authorization with the copy previously produced by the plaintiff.  Mostly because it’s like looking at 2 different charts.  I guess nobody noticed the first time around that we were missing almost a year and half’s worth of office notes, labs, pathology reports and radiology.  The second copy, while more complete, is still missing pages compared to the first copy.  Needless to say, I don’t have a lot of confidence that we’ve gotten a copy of the entire chart even between these two sets of records. 

Let me back up for a minute and say that I know that not all MRC’s are slack.  There are some very good ones, and for them, I tip my hat.  Thank you for actually paying attention to my request for the records in the first place, since that seems to be half the battle with some.  I also thank you for calling me with any questions.  I have no problem answering any question you may have since I’m delighted that you took the time to read my letter and could find my name and phone number.  Some people have a hard time doing that, even though my name and phone number are usually printed TWICE between the body of the letter and the letterhead.  Also, thank you for being educated and informed regarding the HIPAA  regulations and the state statute concerning the release of records and fees.  It’s annoying as hell to argue with someone who may be only 2 years out of high school about whether a medical malpractice case is the same as a “personal injury” matter in regard to the statute.  I even copied the definition of “personal injury” and “medical malpractice” from the statute and sent it to this MRC.  To me, an MRC is worth their weight in gold when they understand that I would rather not harass them to send the records or call back asking for missing pages, and that I’m just doing my job as well.  I understand MRC’s probably get a kajillion requests and calls from antsy attorneys who have waited until their statute of limitations is almost expired before paying attention to their case.  I’m not going to stab you in the eye through the phone if you call me and tell me you will get to my request, but it might be a little while.  I’m not going to take your birthday day away if you ask me for more information or need a copy of the estate letters of administration that I forgot to attach with the authorization.  I’m really a nice person, who just wants the records so I can do my job, and I’m even polite.  Just please make an accurate copy, okay?

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3 Responses to “Another rant”

  1. Cher December 30, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    It comes down to the simple fact that most people just don’t care…about anything. And it’s definitely worth a rant. I run across people like that in purchasing. I often have to do their job AND mine, but I only get 1 salary. It sucks. Do I really have to ask 3 times for a COD total? Do I have to beg for a tracking # that should have just automatically been sent to me? The lack of care just astounds me sometimes.

    And I see you joined Twitter. Interesting. That’s one thing that I just can’t get into for some reason.

  2. Another ParaLegal January 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    AAAAMEN sister!!! Oh yeah, this is definately a rant worthy post! I cannot tell you how many times records are received that are very obviously incomplete; that only one side of two sided documents were copied and sent without any review. I now have gotten to the point that I look through the records first to make sure it looks reasonably complete before submitting invoices for copying of the records to our accounting department. Not paying for shit half done! If they are sucky, the entire thing is sent back to them in their envelope with a copy of my letter highlighting “All Records” and a written message to please recheck their file as the one sent is missing pages! And, yes, not all providers MRC’s are morons, many have very good people. But the ones who have shitheads in their office suck!

    • Momalegal January 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

      Ooooh, Ima start doing that next! Thanks! Make them fix it their own-damn-selves. Sheesh.

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