Medical records are necessary to substantiate an injured worker’s claim. At a minimum, injured workers and attorneys need the records from doctors and hospitals to show the diagnoses the workers have and the treatment that they have received. This includes records from physical therapy, MRI, pain management, orthopedic, etc.
Every injured worker has a right to receive her or his medical records, and by law should be able to obtain those records promptly at a fair cost.
Federal law is clear: a patient has the “right to obtain from [their health care providers] a copy of [their medical records] in an electronic format,” 42 USC § 17935(e)(1), and that health care providers may bill “only the cost of … copying, including the cost of supplies for and labor of copying,”45 CFR 164.524(c)(4)(i). This is all part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act).
Rehm, Bennett & Moore employs the HITECH Act on behalf of injured clients to represent them in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
What happens to my workers’ compensation case if my doctor says I might need surgery in a few years but not now?
A common concern among workers’ comp clients is the worry of what will happen with their injured body part or parts in the future. This concern is often raised when a doctor tells a patient they MAY need surgery in the future. In Nebraska, the fact that you may need medical care in the future does not mean that a surgery will be paid for by workers’ compensation. In order for any medical care to be paid by workers’ compensation, that medical care must be reasonable and necessary to treat your work injury. MAY does not cut it for courts and insurance companies.
Fortunately, under Nebraska law, medical care is defined as anything that hastens return to employment or relieves pain. Many times, doctors, especially surgeons, will state that there is no treatment required for an injury. Insurance companies take this to mean there is no need for future medical care. However, if your doctor prescribes medication, a brace for you to wear, compression stockings, or even that you do exercises with equipment prescribed by a doctor, that all qualifies as future medical treatment. The advantage of asking your doctor for braces, or even simple equipment like exercise bands or squeeze balls, for treatment is that it gives a court the leeway to award you future medical care so that if you need surgery down the road, it is more likely that the surgery will be approved. Also, if you do your prescribed exercises, it is probably less likely that you will need surgical care in the future. Finally, if you are diligent about doing your recommended exercises to treat your injury, a doctor is more likely to support you in your workers’ compensation case.