What to do when a NH won't supply discharge records?

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My mother and father in law were both discharged from the nursing home and came to live with us. Their medical provider is trying to obtain the official discharge records from the NH, but the NH hasn't provided them after three weeks of repeated requests for them. We have a generalized copy of the records that we got at their discharge, but the medical office wants an official copy with all nursing notes, history and physicals, MD notes, med admin records, labs, therapy notes and nursing notes from the NH. My husband has also called and asked them several times, and he provided them with a fax number to the medical provider, but all the NH says is that they are not sure what to send, and since the number my husband provided doesn't "look" like a fax number, they are going to try to send them through the mail to them. Medical provider needs them ASAP, and I am afraid that the NH will take their sweet time sending them, saying that "they sent them through the mail". What options do we have to get the NH to actually fax them to the provider quickly? My mother in law who had a stroke is having some medical issues with TIA and the provider wants to verify if the same thing happened while she was in the NH.

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First thing, I am assuming you are your mother in law HCP or POA. If you don't have either then it is time for you husband and his siblings to get off their ass and put a letter together stating they are the family of you mother-in-law and you should back off. If someone gives the doctor in the facility permission to talk to her current provider then their shouldn't be a problem with your mother and communication. As far as medical records. If the family rep or all the family request their mother's medical records. They will process the request. It takes time and they should be able to tell the family. Being nice goes a long way. I took care of my mother for 8 years at home and had help with hospice. I also worked in a large facility, nursing then research for 32 years. I don't know what nursing notes and all other documention is going to do for you. Physician notes pretty much sum everything up. If you are looking for hospital notes. The nursing home does not have the right to give a family. Notes from a different facility. You would have to request from another facility. The facility also has the right to charge you a price per page for copying. If two months have past. I then would involve a lawyer. If you have no legal rights to your husband parents. I would back off and let your husband and his family deal with it. Kindness goes a long way.
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It may cost you about $150 or so but go to an attorney and ask him/her to write a letter and send it to them. We have done this in the past and it worked wonders.
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Dear Wondermomma,

As this is such an important issue, I'm sure you don't mean to be vague, but I am a bit confused by your query on two points.

The first is that you are combining the request for both your MIL & FIL, when you currently have an urgent medical need for your MIL's records immediately.

The second is, you repetitively refer to their/her "medical provider" or "provider" rather than using the word "doctor", which seems to me would carry more weight.

I am a big believer in documentation and paper trails. Anything you write becomes a documented basis for legal action later, if necessary. Phone calls do not protect your rights or those of your in laws because you can never prove what was said, even if you journal the time, date and person to whom you spoke.

If it is the doctor who originally needs the records, s/he should assert that fact on his or her letterhead, which will show the office's phone and fax numbers,stating also that s/he is aware of an "xx" week delay from the original request (IF in fact they had knowledge of the request, for example if his or her medical staff previously requested the information), and a DEMAND to fax your MIL's "full & complete file during the tenure of her stay"; that NOT providing such records is interfering with her medical care.

Then, YOU write a letter indicating that they will be in receipt of a letter from the doctor requiring your MIL's documents as previously requested on ... (and list all dates, times, by letter, or if by phone, to whom the request was directed. THIS is the time and place to document this to them, REGARDING ONLY YOUR MIL. Send YOUR letter "certified, return receipt" so they know you mean business.

If your FIL is being attended by the same doctor, a couple of days after the letter about your MIL, YOU write a separate letter regarding your FIL, requesting that HIS "full & complete file" be faxed forthwith to the same doctor at the same fax number as your MIL. Restate the length of time it has been since your original request, and include on HIS letter the same contact history you put on your MIL's letter, assuming that you were ALWAYS contacting the nursing home about both your MIL & FIL. If that isn't true, amend his list. Also send this letter "certified, return receipt". Save each screen postcard you get back with the appropriate letter.

In my opinion, you may only get a response if you get the doctor involved and if you begin asking for each file individually.

Should this be ineffective, your obvious next step is to take your letters, the green postcards and their doctor's letter plus any other previous documentation (other written requests or phone journals) to a GOOD lawyer, who would likely issue an immediate demand letter, referencing your letters as backup.

After you have received the necessary documents, you should report them to the officiating county and state authorities as well as to Medicare.
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You can tell them that you saw many JACHO violations also.
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That's right - do not let them bully you. They are not going to be helpful in giving you the charts so you must be proactive. I had an attorney who finally sent over his representative to copy the chart. It is their legal responsibility to give you the information but they are going to stall as long as they can.
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If you really want to get their attention, just threaten to report them to the State Department of Health.
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Also, it's far too easy to put you off over the phone, much harder in person.
Find out what your legal rights are, then sic 'em!
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I worked in nursing homse for 8 years as a therapist and I've also dealt with them as a family member when my mom was in one. They won't release anything until you make them. You have to be very firm with them, give them a deadline, threaten them with legal action, and follow through. Don't threaten anything you're not willing to follow up with. They will stall you to infinity if you allow them to.
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This is what I would do. I would call their medical records department (if they have one) say I want the records by this date and if they are not here I will be sending my legal representative to copy her chart.
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sounds like what's going on with the nursing home that my mom was in a few years ago. Only they refuse to give us the records until we open an estate in my mom's name because their "legal department" has said we aren't allowed her records. Mind you she has since passed away 5 months after her stay there, but here is the caveat: the NH gave my mom the wrong medication causing her to have a seizure and be sent back to the hospital. So they know we have a negligence case against them and don't want to release the records to show that. However, I do have one record that states what happened to my mom upon returning to the hospital after the negligence. So I agree with tiny450, get a lawyer and get up to speed about HIPPA laws. Also check with your folks to see if you are a POA. That will help tremendously. My mom didn't name anyone POA/Executor to her estate so it's been harder for us to obtain these records. NH's are notorious for not releasing information. Fear of getting shut down I guess.
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