How many times have you gotten all geared up to analyze a medical case for an attorney-client only to find that the information is incomplete and records are missing? What’s a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant to do?
Here are four steps you may want to employ:
- Assess whether you have enough information to at least derive a cost-effective preliminary opinion. But do avoid initiating an analysis of the records that amounts to nothing more than an expensive time-waster. I’m generally not a fan of touching things twice. If you conclude that you lack the necessary information for a preliminary opinion, communicate with your attorney-client. Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Suzanne Arragg, RN, BSN, CDONA/LTC, CLNC says, “Briefly explain the reason for your call and explain the specific items necessary to determine whether the case is meritorious. If you are a consulting expert, send a follow-up email with the list of all requested items. If you are the testifying expert, communicate verbally only – as all written correspondence is discoverable.” If you do provide a preliminary opinion be sure to include a list of all additional medical records required to reach a conclusive opinion.
- Ask “What can I do to avoid this unpleasant experience in the future?” The last thing you want is to get frustrated over something you can’t control. But you can be more proactive up front. For example, you might quickly scan the records when they first arrive to ensure you have what you need when you are ready to sit down (or stand) at your computer to analyze the case.
- Communicate with the attorney, not just the assistant, about the case. Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Dale Barnes, RN, MSN, PHN, CLNC says, “Always request to speak with the attorney before proceeding on your case analysis. It is not enough for the Certified Legal Nurse Consultant to obtain case details from just the paralegal or legal assistant. If you must talk to an assistant, consider leaving a voice mail message for the attorney emphasizing that you would like to discuss the case briefly (five minutes) to ensure you proceed in the most cost-effective way.”
- Move on to your next legal nurse consulting case. This is my personal favorite. Once you’ve communicated the missing records to your attorney-client move on both physically and mentally. Don’t let that set of incomplete records wreck your day.
The next time you sit down to an incomplete set of medical records follow one or more of these four steps. And, while you’re waiting for those missing records, get onto your next case.
I’m Just Sayin’
P.S. Comment and share how you deal with incomplete medical records in your legal nurse consulting business.