Obtaining Medical Records or Medical Reports

One of the most important aspects of a workers’ compensation case is to ensure that a work-related injury is well documented in a claimant’s medical records.  Every time a claimant sees a physician, it is important for the claimant to ensure that the doctor knows that they are treating a work-related injury to protect the claimant, but also to ensure that the doctor knows how to submit claims for payment.  In addition, the claimant should keep a detailed list of all physicians that have been seen for the work-related injury to ensure that an accurate and complete medical history of the injury can be later obtained.

When a claimant is finished receiving treatment for their work-related injury, the claimant will be examined by an independent medical examiner to determine whether there is any permanent partial disability due to the injury.  The independent medical examiner examines the claimant, interviews the claimant, and will review the claimant’s medical records before determining the nature and extent of any permanent disability. Generally, the workers’ compensation commission will not render an order for compensation based on a permanent partial disability unless the claimant undergoes two independent medical exams, one at the claimant’s expense, and the other at the insurer’s expense.

Requesting Medical Records and Reports

Before obtaining an appointment for an independent medical exam, it will be necessary for the claimant or the claimant’s attorney to request all relevant medical records from every physician or hospital that treated the claimant for the work-related accident.  If the claimant allows the attorney to request the medical records, the claimant would need to complete a HIPAA release, which provides authorization to a third-party to obtain medical information. .  It is generally, however, the responsibility of the claimant to pay any fees associated with obtaining the medical records.

Pay for Workers’ Comp Medical Records

If the claimant decides to obtain medical records on their own, the claimant may be able to avoid the costs of having medical records copied by requesting that the physician provide a copy of any records after each appointment.  If the physician only has to copy a couple of pages after each visit, opposed to hundreds of pages all at once, the physician may be less inclined to charge the patient for the records. If a claimant is on a budget and the costs associated with obtaining medical records is too high, the claimant should speak with the physician’s office or the attorney about any current financial difficulties the claimant may be facing.

After the claimant or the claimant’s attorney receives all medical records, the claimant will be scheduled for an independent medical examination.  Prior to that appointment, the claimant or the claimant’s attorney should send all collected medical records to the independent medical examiner, who will review the medical records after the claimant’s physical exam and interview.

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