Medical records are indeed crucial when it comes to winning a social security disability case. The extent of the plaintiff’s disability can be proved only with the appropriate medical evidence. What is important here is that as a disability attorney, you need to identify the right medical records from among the many available ones. This can be done only through a foolproof medical record review process. The decision whether you handle this in-house or hire a medical review company to take care of this very important task is entirely yours, though the latter option would be more practical in many ways.
Here are some important pointers to consider when choosing the proper medical records.
- Make sure that you have the relevant medical records that will help establish a clear history of the plaintiff’s medical condition. You also need the current medical records to establish the present medical condition of your client.
- The SSA would want a treatment history detailing the treatments administered to the claimant and how he/she responded to those treatments.
- A written statement of the treating physician is also very important when filing a disability claim.
The Statement of the Treating Physician is Crucial
To the SSA, the treating physician is the person that can provide a comprehensive, historical evaluation of the claimant’s medical issues. The SSA considers this statement more illuminating than any other objective data such as lab tests and X-rays. In fact, the treating physician can clearly explain how the particular disability interferes with the claimant’s ability to work. A reliable statement should contain a clear analysis of how the impairment has limited the functional abilities of the claimant. The analysis should employ objective and standardized medical diagnostic techniques, and describe the extent of the disability and its expected duration. The analysis must be consistent with the medical symptoms and findings.
For instance if you are fighting a case for an obese patient, the medical documentation you have in hand should support the fact that the obesity is of such severity that its limitations are equivalent to one of the impairments listed in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, or causes/contributes one of the listed impairments. Obesity could contribute to medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, osteoarthritis and other such conditions. The medical documentation should support the fact that obesity is causing/contributing to such conditions. When determining disability, the SSA will also look at how obesity worsens the claimant’s capacity to function with the other impairments it has caused. An obese person with arthritis may find it more difficult to walk and do other activities compared to a normal weight person with arthritis.
Obesity can be a qualifying factor for receiving SSD, but the medical records should clearly show that the obese condition is causing other symptoms that make it impossible for the claimant to work. Reliable medical review services help disability attorneys ensure that all relevant medical records required to support the disability claim are available. Being professionals in the field, the review staff will have a clear understanding regarding the records the SSA will need to approve the claim.