Can I Use E-signatures on My Medical Record Release Forms?

Copyright: aleksvf / 123RF Stock PhotoBy Josh Habegger

Many firms request medical records from National Record Retrieval using authorizations that are signed by E-Signature.  However, if it is possible, I suggest using a wet signature.  There is nothing wrong with using an e-signature, in fact, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has stated that it is acceptable on an authorization:

Electronic signatures have been considered fully acceptable as reflected in the development of HIPAA standards and guidance generally. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has stated that a HIPAA covered entity such as a doctor or hospital does not need to verify the identity of the purported signer of an electronically signed document, and that an electronic signature is a sufficient signature for an authorization form.

The issue is that they leave it up to the providers/facilities to decide if they want to accept or deny an authorization with an E-signature.

Monthly Authorization Rejection Rate

Wet Signature- less than 1%

E-Signature- Between 12%-17%

Once a provider/facility has rejected an authorization, you have to start the process all over again.  They have up to 30 days to respond to the request, so if your initial requested is rejected you may be looking at 60 days before you even find out if they have the records you need for your case.  So to make sure you get your medical records as fast as possible, it is always best to have your client physically sign the release form.

For more information or help obtaining your medical records, feel free to contact us at info@nationalrr.com

 

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Trucking Accidents- What Type of Information is Available?

trucking data & recordsBy Josh Habegger

Background:

Since National Record Retrieval is a company focused on supporting law firms for all record retrieval needs, here is a little background on myself and a few of my staff members. We spent nearly 15 years working to help keep some of the largest fleets in the U.S. compliant with Local, State, & Federal regulations.  We consulted with large national carriers to help them properly license & permit, implement safety programs, install telematics devices, and monitor their driver qualification files.  Below is just a quick glimpse of data available in a truck accident.

Information Available:

How familiar are you with DOT Safety Rules & Regulations?  Some of the largest fleets in the United States have gaping holes in their FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) compliance procedures.  It is not because they don’t care, but it is a lot of work and staying compliant is a moving target.  Motor Carriers now have a lot of great technology at their fingertips to help them stay compliant and monitor safety issues. Do you know what type of data is recorded in a trucks ECM or how much data is collected from the most simple telematics units?  In a case against a trucking company or large carrier, what do you ask for?

At any time, the DOT can audit a fleets’ Driver Qualification Files (DQFs) and those files must be produced within 48 hours, but what takes place during that those hours?  I can tell you a lot!  Make sure that you ask for all changes made from the date you request the files to when you actually receive them.  I can promise you that all companies scramble when they are facing a law suit or audit.  Trucking companies that spend a lot of time and money on their safety programs are lucky if they are 85% compliant in the DOT’s eyes. What does that tell you about the average company?  Are they 50%, 40%, or 30% compliant….many are much worse.  So if one of their drivers has been involved in an accident and you know what information to request, you are going to probably find outages in their safety program that will help your case.

What about telematics? What information is in the palm of thousands of Fleet Director’s hands and why do they continue to ignore data that would help to keep our roadways much safer as it pertains to catastrophic trucking accidents?  Is it because monitoring this information is hard work or because it can be costly, or both? Most fleets that have telematics onboard can monitor some pretty amazing things and can know whether or not a driver is operating their equipment safely.  These new technologies are nothing short of amazing.  They monitor hard brakes, excessive acceleration, sharp turns, speeding, hours of service, pre-trip inspections, etc.  So, at any given moment you can look into the drivers history and see what was going on minutes/seconds before the accident.  Even if trucks do not have telematics, as long as they are a model year 2000 or newer, you can pull much of that information form the ECM.

Make sure that you are familiar with the FMCSRs (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) and what motivates trucking companies/carriers to comply.  Know what information you should be requesting to show the driver/carrier’s safety performance history.  No matter what the trucking company says, what you want is probably available, you just may have to dig for it.

Tip:  If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact one of our FMCSR experts.