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Six Tips for Legal Teams


Ask each provider if they have a unique HIPAA authorization form and have the plaintiff sign it in advance.

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  1. Make sure the release form has the correct patient information
  2. Make sure the release form is HIPAA compliant
  3. Make sure to include supporting documents

What the Pros Know

In some cases where the patient is a child, adult who has been adjudicated incompetent, or deceased, an authorized patient representative must sign the authorization form. This release form should include a copy of the document that authorizes the representative to sign such as a power of attorney, a copy of the letters of authority appointing them personal representative for an estate, or a court decree appointing them as guardian over the patient.



Verify the address of each provider by phone and ensure you send requests to the proper department.

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  1. Research and follow the custodian’s rules
  2. Research subpoena requirements and medical records authorization rules for each jurisdiction
  3. Take notes on the tips, preferences and requirements for each custodian and save for future use

What the Pros Know

The technology for storing and collecting medical records and the laws that govern how they are accessed are two subjects that are constantly evolving. Anyone assigned with managing record retrieval should constantly research the new laws and technology that could help speed up the record retrieval process or create unforeseen barriers.[/expand]


Ensure you only request the records you need. To contain costs, provide the types of records and the dates of service you need with your request.

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  1. Make sure requests for Protected Health Information meet HIPAA requirements
  2. If the records exist, be persistent in trying to obtain them
  3. Have a plan for how the records that are collected will be reviewed

What the Pros Know

To make a Subpoena most effective, entities require certain information:

  • Insurance company – policy or claim number, and claim type
  • Hospital – Patient’s date of birth and/or social security number
  • Medical group – Name of the treating physician
  • Ambulance/EMT company- Date and location of transport[/expand]


Before you send a request for records, call each provider to confirm their fee structure and proprietary forms.

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  1. Understand the state statutes on record retention
  2. Know what fees custodians are allowed to charge
  3. You can request records in a variety of formats including paper, electronic, and CD/DVD

What the Pros Know

Work to establish and maintain positive relationships with custodians. There’s a chance you may need their help for either your current case or cases in the future.[/expand]


With deadlines looming, track your record requests to decrease turnaround time and quickly respond to any missing data or payments.

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  1. Respond promptly to requests from custodians for more information or record denials
  2. Make sure you have the ability to check the status of the record request in real time
  3. Submit record requests as early as possible

What the Pros Know

If presented with a request from a medical records custodian to extend their time to comply, respond promptly with a firm, specific date for compliance.[/expand]


There can be an overwhelming number of records, so be sure to organize them to support your litigation needs.

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  1. Have a plan for how the records will be managed
  2. Consider using a secure data management tool such as WiseFiles®
  3. Determine whether the records will need to be shared between any co-counsel or opposing counsel

What the Pros Know

Streamline the flow of information and organize your strategy with WiseFiles, MRC’s revolutionary document retrieval, management, and hosting solution.[/expand]