Lawyers PI Program
 
“Building a PI Practice”

 #22

 From the Desk of:

 Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP


“Lawyers Communication System”


When you are treating a patient that already has legal representation, there is a marketing opportunity to get that patient’s lawyer to refer many other clients to you for care. The key is communication and repetition, repetition, repetition.

 
What makes the lawyer money? The answer, ethical, quality reports and paperwork delivered in a timely fashion. Therefore, you have to implement a system that accomplishes all of the above and at the same time gives you the chance to have a reason for him/her to hear from you and about you on a consistent basis without being obnoxious.

 
Historically, when we start caring for a patient that has a lawyer representing them, we might send the lawyer an initial report or just wait for the lawyer to contact us prior to rendering a narrative. One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, “What do I send the lawyer and when do I send it?” The process is a very simple, yet powerful, motivational one to get the lawyer to realize that he/she should send you additional clients to treat. 

 
Visit #1

The patient starts care in your office. You evaluate, take or order x-rays and then create paperwork, including referrals for advanced imaging or specialists’ consultations. Whether those orders are carried out or not, at this point in time, it is simply your treatment plan.

 
The Day After Visit #1

Call the lawyer and get him/her on the phone by saying to the staff member that answers the phone that the lawyer’s client is now under your care and you need to speak to the lawyer directly to inform him/her as to what is wrong with the client. Inform the lawyer that he/she doesn’t need to do anything else, medically, for the client (no additional referrals) because you have taken care of all of his/her needs. Let the lawyer know that in 6-8 weeks, you are going to be packaging all of the records and you will make sure that he/she has them. 

 
What the lawyer is hearing is that for the next 6-8 weeks, he/she doesn’t have to spend any money having his/her staff attempting to get records. He/she doesn’t have to spend disbursements out of his/her pocket for medical reports and in a case where there are no damages, he/she isn’t wasting his/her money. You should also ask the lawyer to send you an authorization to release records so that you can automatically send everything without you having to scramble to get it at the last minute.

 
On the same day, go to a calendar and make a note in 6 weeks time to gather all of the information for the lawyer. Also make sure that the lawyer sends you an authorization to release the records before then. If you do not get the authorization within a week, call the lawyer’s office to gently remind him/her.

 
6-8 Weeks Later

In 6-8 weeks, after all of the tests have been performed (MRI, CAT scan, x-rays) and the specialists have been consulted, you then package everything together and call the lawyer. Inform him/her that you have significant findings for his/her client, your patient, and you want to meet him/her for a brief breakfast to explain the results. Remember, at this time, he/she needs you more than you need him/her because you already have what he/she needs, the paperwork to prevail in the case.

 
Meeting

When you sit with the lawyer, make sure that your paperwork is organized in a portfolio. Presentation counts…mightily! Go through the results and emphasize persistent functional loss. That is often the significant finding. That is also the key to increasing the value of the case from the lawyer’s perspective. Have with you a 3-ring binder with a laminated sample narrative. Share with the lawyer that the sample narrative is your format template and solicit his/her opinion as to format. If he/she wants your report in a different format, then change it. Don’t be married to the format. It’s the results that never change. How you write them is a minor issue. 

 
Should you have a very significant case with major injuries, then contact the lawyer prior to the 6 weeks and meet with him/her earlier. Make sure you have the documentation to back up you words!

 
At the end of the meeting, inform the lawyer that this is your normal process and you look forward to working with him/her in the future. Make sure you then let him/her know about the Plaintiff IME. If nothing else, this will impress him/her and give you the quickest referrals for the second opinion.

 
Finally, chiropractors are seen in the medical-legal community as specialists and specialists are expected to have type written reports, not hand written reports. Again, presentation is everything in the documentation world.