Managing your release of information process is complicated enough. After all, the sheer volume of medical record requests can inundate staff and strain resources. Accuracy, speed and ease of use in your ROI process affects patient experience and satisfaction with your system. Plus, there are the HIPAA and PHI compliance laws to follow, lest you run the risk of fines, data breaches and reputational harm.
Then along comes a “subpoena duces tecum,” commonly referred to as a subpoena, which is a legal request to produce documents for a court case. Responding to subpoenas for medical records is even more difficult than a traditional ROI request because it requires knowing and adhering to various laws that don’t apply to regular authorizations.
Subpoenas put your ROI process to the test, and bring the following questions to the surface:
· Does your medical records team have the time and knowledge to comply with state and federal laws governing subpoenas?
· Will the complexity of handling subpoenas create a backlog in your team’s normal workload?
· Does the legal case cross any state lines, and if so, does your team know the law in the other state(s)? What is the quash or objection period for that location and is an authorization required?
Of course, ROI is an administrative function, and the speed, accuracy and efficiency at which it’s performed are some of a healthcare system’s top priorities. Yet, responding to subpoenas takes all that up a notch since any error(s) can potentially draw your organization into the court case to answer for those errors, considering:
· Subpoenas are particularly sensitive record requests and require you to comply with additional state and federal laws, on top of the HIPAA regulations you already have to deal with in ROI processes.
· Subpoenas are extremely time-sensitive, and if you miss a deadline you could be drawn into the court case to explain why your organization didn’t respond to the request.
· Your ROI staff has to be extremely knowledgeable in federal and state laws (sometimes multiple states involved in the case) in order to handle subpoenas and authorizations correctly.
· Your team has to be quick on their feet, prepared to release the record on time OR pivot and prevent the record from being released if the subpoena is quashed by the judge.
What Prevents Healthcare Organizations from Effectively Responding to Subpoenas for Medical Records?
Usually, any problems are rooted in delays, as well as lack of standardization and consistency across organizations’ locations. Medical records staff are human, and humans make mistakes. Even though multiple locations may operate as one organization, humans are making decisions on procedure standards at a local level, which leads to a lack of standardization and consistency.
Also, a large number of record requests can stretch an already lean medical record department staff, leading to backlogs and negatively impacting patient experience and care. Additionally, there are requesters who expect records immediately, mislabeled or misfiled records, and patients with multiple encounters at multiple facilities with which to contend. Add to that the intricacy of responding to subpoenas for medical records, and you can see why problems arise.
Release of Information Outsourcing to ScanSTAT Makes Responding to Subpoenas Easier for Everyone
Being called on to answer for any mistakes associated with responding to a subpoena or inadvertently negatively impacting your patient’s legal case are serious consequences. To avoid them all together and transfer the burden of compliance from you, outsource your ROI services to ScanSTAT.
ScanSTAT uses a HIPAA-compliant virtual workspace in which our experts handle subpoenas, as well as all your traditional medical records requests. Our efficient remote system gives you the benefit of ScanSTAT’s offsite personnel who are well-versed in responding to subpoenas, so your staff can focus on other important initiatives.
6 Benefits of Choosing ScanSTAT
1. ScanSTAT’s workflows and internal audit procedures result in superior accuracy rates.
2. Shift the compliance burden to us as your trusted business associate and rest assured our team will minimize the threat of HIPAA liability.
3. Our team commits to processing ROI requests within 24-48 hours of receipt, eliminating backlogs, noncompliance issues and frustrated requesters—we stay on top of state quash or objection timeframes.
4. Gain cost efficiencies by outsourcing. Our clients save an average of 50% by using our release of information service.
5. ScanSTAT offers three service models to meet your organization’s ROI needs.
6. No matter the model, ScanSTAT handles all billable AND non-billable requests and can provide support for audits. Find out how we can take the burden of fulfilling complicated medical records requests from you by requesting a demo today.