© 2009 The Medical-Legal News
By Pat Bemis
In today’s economy legal nurse consultants are searching for a way to increase their chances of survival. I believe the answer is two-fold. They need to present their services in small, affordable bites and they need to re-establish their roles of being patient advocates.
The first part of the answer involves reorganizing your services. I’m not talking about learning a new service, such as life care planning or Medicare Set-asides. I’m talking about looking at what you already provide and breaking it down into more sizeable bites.
Sizeable portions of your services are more easily paid for from the attorney’s limited budget for the case. One way an attorney can minimize expenses is to purchase only the services needed. You need to make a practice of telling the client attorney what he or she needs. At times, it may be less than what was requested. Your client attorney will never forget the fact that you saved him money.
The second part of the answer is to reestablish the role of patient advocate. My thought is that sometimes LNCs become so involved with the medical record that they lose track of the patient. Nurses are and always have been advocates for patients. Any medically related case can use an unbiased independent medical exam (IME). Sometimes we only think about medical malpractice, but it can be any case when the claimant’s medical condition needs to be clarified. This might include worker’s compensation, disability, divorce, custody, criminal cases or personal injury. When the person who is paying the bill is looking for a specific outcome, the physician may be unknowingly or knowingly biased. Accompanying the patient and reviewing the exam report from an insider’s viewpoint can greatly benefit the patient and the client attorney.
A registered nurse with legal nurse consulting knowledge is the perfect person to accompany the client to the exam, analyze the report and identify any discrepancies and inconsistencies. The LNC is a much better choice to act as the client’s advocate during an IME than the attorney. Information that may be important to the outcome of the case may not be reflected in the physician’s report.
Consultants often are stuck in a rut. During the infancy of their businesses, they may offer many services. As the business matures, they often narrow their focus to the services that they enjoy most and are the easiest to sell. In this economy, being stuck in a rut can mean the demise of your business. Breaking down your services into smaller portions and adding IME advocate services can help the LNC survive this economic downturn.
As always, I am available to answer your questions. You can reach me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or at (321) 633-4610.
Verdicts & Settlements Next Post:
Doctors’ Medicare billing records, sought to assess care quality, not public