Custom Medical Record Retrieval Solution Saves Firm $250,000
Large New DocketBailey & Roberts (BR), a mid-size law firm with 15 attorneys, has been a Lexitas customer for over 10 years. Its aggressive and highly successful approach has recovered over $2 billion for clients, including several record setting settlements and verdicts.
As BR has grown, new challenges have arisen. Last year, they accepted a very large docket with tens of thousands of plaintiffs originating from all over the United States.
“Dozens of firms are sending cases to BR, all with different questionnaires and intake packets,” related Bert Farris, President, Plaintiff Records at Lexitas. “That adds a layer of complexity to retrieval because the questions are slightly different on each questionnaire.”
Staff DifficultyWhen taking on such a project, a law firm may find it challenging to hire additional staff to process cases and request records. They must train and manage them and find space and budget for them not knowing how long they will be needed. It raises a lot of questions that take time to answer.
“If paralegals get behind, those thousands of record requests might sit for a month or more before they send them to us,” reported Farris. “So, you’re adding months onto the docket.”
Bottleneck IdentifiedOn the front end of the docket, Farris sat down with BR to discuss the challenges that began to surface. “Bert and the team at Lexitas identified a bottleneck in our process that was costing us a lot of time and money,” related Carter Bailey, Founding Partner at BR.
Cases coming over from referring counsel needed to be input in the BR case management system. Several days to a week after the data entry step was complete, a paralegal would look at the data and decide which providers to request records from and what types of records were needed, then order the records.
“The case input and initial record ordering step is time consuming because it must be done manually,” related Bailey. “Our firm receives hundreds of cases each week, so these steps required a lot of staff who were routinely behind.”
Advance Record RetrievalAfter identifying the bottleneck, Farris offered a customized solution to BR leadership. “I’ve got an idea,” he said. “It would be a big help for Bailey Roberts, but also for Lexitas.”
Farris proposed that Lexitas be copied on the cases as they came over from the referring attorneys. His team would extract the data needed to place record orders from the questionnaires and initiate the record orders using a specific protocol defined by BR’s attorneys and nurse group.
“We developed that protocol, and before the data gets entered into the case management system at BR, we’ve already received the questionnaires,” explained Farris. “We process the questionnaires, input the data into our system and then initiate the record orders.”
Automated Case Management Data EntryOnce Lexitas receives the cases, they:
- Research each of the facilities to make sure they are submitting requests to the correct legal entity
- Automatically apply a pre-determined scope to each type of facility
- Request the appropriate data range based on questions in the questionnaire
“We developed a solution for thousands of cases coming in from dozens of referral sources where all the paperwork looks different,” stated Farris. “It was just a matter of finding a way to do it that was efficient. Then, we were off and running.”
Turnaround Time Cut by Several WeeksInstead of paralegals at BR entering case data and deciding what to order, Lexitas orders the records and then BR uploads the data into its system automatically. “We eliminated that entire process of the paralegals’ time, energy and keystrokes,” reported Farris.
By rapidly implementing the solution on the front end of the docket, the medical records are getting in BR’s hands several weeks sooner vs. the bottleneck that had been identified. In addition, BR was able to spool up the docket very quickly.
Saved $250,000 and Faster ROIConsidering that BR was recieving 2,000 to 3,000 cases a month, Bailey judges that 6 to 8 people would have been required to process the paperwork. “We estimate that for the entire docket, it saved us $250,000,” he reported. “And, we get the records 3-4 weeks faster.”
Getting the records 3-4 weeks earlier also means that BR can know that much sooner how many cases are going to qualify for settlement. They can then go to the defendant and say, we have X number of these cases and they’re worth Y amount of dollars.
“When the law firm has millions of dollars invested, getting that money back out a month or two sooner is extremely valuable,” added Farris. “And, it’s that much faster the clients get paid, as well.”
Larger Case LoadFaster records turnaround also makes BR look better to its referring attorneys. “That’s 30 days sooner that referring lawyers know they have good cases,” explained Bailey. “That makes them want to go get more for us. And, if we are telling them 30 days faster than another firm, referring attorneys are more likely to prefer BR.”
Because of the time it frees up, the Lexitas solution also allows BR or a similar firm to take on additional cases. “They could expand the docket and take on additional cases using the existing staff,” explained Farris. “Or, their existing paralegals can take vacation and work fewer long days.”
Better Use of ResourcesParalegals are experts at the law and preparing cases for settlement, for trial or for the next step in the legal process. The Lexitas solution improves morale because they are working at their skill level and not on repetitive clerical tasks.
“If we pull our highly trained and effective paralegals away from the items that only they can do to review questionnaires and order records, that’s not the best use of their time,” stated Bailey. “When you allow them to focus on the more important items of the case, that’s a benefit to the client, the firm and the lawyers.”
The Personal TouchDespite its long partnership with Lexitas, BR has used other record retrieval companies to obtain copies of records ordered by the opposing side and when the record retrieval company was contractual per the docket.
“We prefer Lexitas, however, because of the personal touch and their ability to adjust to our needs on a docket-by-docket basis,” concluded Bailey. “Instead of making us fit into their system, they fit into ours.”
*The names of the firm and partner have been changed for reasons of confidentiality.
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