Requesting Your Medical Records from Mt. Sinai Hospital or Health Care Provider for your 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Claim
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund requires that copies of medical records be obtained by the claimant and submitted in many instances. Records are often helpful to prove a disability from employment, the need to hire household or other at-home help to support a claim for payment of replacement services, or for an enhanced or increased monetary award for a 9/11-related cancer such as prostate or skin cancer.
Copies of medical records for cancer or other treatment are almost always needed to be obtained and submitted in support of deceased/wrongful death claims for many reasons, including to establish the cause of death, the diagnosis date, to show the extent of any pain and suffering, the inability to work or to perform household services, or as part of the proof for a claim for reimbursable medical expenses.
Copies of medical records are also often necessary to receive lifetime healthcare from the World Trade Center Health Program. Records may be required to show when the 9/11 claimant (first responder, downtown worker, resident, or student) was first diagnosed or had complaints of breathing or digestive conditions. This type of medical proof may be necessary to show that the maximum latency period has been satisfied for breathing or digestive conditions.
Or, in the case of cancer, the records are often needed to establish a diagnosis date that is required to show that the minimum latency period is met in cases involving any one of the over 70 different types of 9/11-related cancers.
As an increasing number of victims started to show signs of these symptoms, the government stepped in to help provide affordable treatment options. Through the WTC Health Program, the government made treatment available free of charge to victims of the 9/11 attacks, including those victims who showed symptoms many years after the initial terrorist attack. The WTC Health Program uses Mt. Sinai Hospital to provide treatment to many of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Do you need your Mt. Sinai hospital or medical records?
Why You Might Need Your Medical Records From Mt. Sinai
Mt. Sinai provides treatment for many of the conditions related to dust cloud exposure following 9/11. At Mt. Sinai, you may have gone through chemotherapy, radiation, or even surgical treatment for some of the conditions associated with dust cloud exposure after 9/11 or the injuries you suffered due to the terrorist attacks.
You may need your medical records because:
You Have Chosen to Pursue Treatment Elsewhere
While Mt. Sinai does provide free medical treatment for certified conditions to victims of the 9/11 attacks, you may choose to pursue treatment through another institution. You may move, making Mt. Sinai less convenient for your treatments. You may need to see a specialist outside of the Mt. Sinai family of hospitals. You might simply prefer to seek treatment elsewhere, based on the progression of your illness and your current needs.
Regardless of your reason for changing the place where you seek treatment, you may need to provide a copy of your medical records. Most often, your doctors can request a copy of your medical records directly. However, before your first appointment, you may want to make sure you have a copy of your medical records in hand so that you can discuss the treatments you have received, your current prognosis, and any other details of your treatment.
You Plan to File a VCF Claim
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund provides financial compensation for victims of the 9/11 attacks. To provide compensation for medical bills you may have faced outside the treatment provided through the WTC Health Program, the VCF may provide additional compensation for the pain and suffering you dealt with from your diagnosis.
To file a VCF claim, however, you will need to establish several key factors. First, you will need to show evidence of your presence at Ground Zero or in Lower Manhattan following the events of 9/11. You can work with your attorney to search for evidence: volunteer records that show you volunteered to help at Ground Zero, whether with rescue or with cleanup; employment records that establish that you worked somewhere in Lower Manhattan following the events of September 11, 2001; or records that show that you lived or went to school in the area during that time.
Next, you will need to show that you faced a covered diagnosis—you needn’t prove its relationship to your presence at Ground Zero or in Lower Manhattan. Your Mt. Sinai or other medical records can help establish that you have a covered diagnosis and have received treatment. Your medical bills will also establish the extent of your illness and how it has affected your life, including what you may have missed out on, the severity of your illness, and what losses you have faced. This evidence can prove vital in establishing how much compensation you deserve in your VCF claim.
Your medical records can serve as valuable evidence that establishes when your illness occurred, what you have suffered because of your illness, and how that illness may have affected other areas of your life.
How to Go About Seeking Your Medical Records
If you need your medical records from Mt. Sinai, you may want to start by filling out the form used to request access to patient medical records. The form will ask where you received treatment, what records you want to receive, and how you prefer to receive copies of your medical records: in paper or digital format. You can choose to receive paper or disk records through the mail or to pick them up in person, or you can choose to have digital records delivered via email.
Mt. Sinai will require your signature to release your medical records in any format, including releasing them to you in person.
If you need to pick up records for someone else, including a deceased family member who received treatment through Mt. Sinai for 9/11-related diagnoses, you may need to show your power of attorney for that individual or have your family member sign off on the paperwork allowing you to pick up those records.
If you cannot fill out the form on your own, need additional help, or have struggled to get the records you need, an experienced 9/11 attorney can help. You may want your attorney to handle requesting and picking up those records on your behalf. An attorney can:
Make Sure You Request the Right Records
What records do you need to establish the extent of your injuries and show what treatment you received? In many cases, you may primarily need to show your overall diagnosis and how it has affected your life so that you can file a VCF claim. However, you may want to show every way that your illness has impacted you, including the full extent of the treatments you have gone through.
Your VCF award may depend on the extent of your suffering related to a 9/11 illness. For example, if you have a cancer diagnosis, but quickly received treatment through the WTC Health Program and could resume life as normal within a couple of years of your diagnosis, you may receive less in compensation for your diagnosis than you would if you had to undergo years of treatment and you have continued to face long-term impact as a direct result of your diagnosis.
Consequently, you may want to make sure you have substantial documentation to prove the extent of your diagnosis and treatment. An attorney can make sure that you request the right records and compile them in a way that will help maximize the benefits you ultimately receive from your claim.
Take Care of the Paperwork on Your Behalf
Often, the stress of dealing with excess paperwork can leave you feeling even more out of sorts, especially while undergoing treatment or dealing with other significant impacts related to your diagnosis. An attorney can fill out the paperwork on your behalf, intercept it, and even pick up your medical records, then upload copies of them into your VCF account.
Add the Relevant Paperwork to Your Claim
When managing your VCF claim, you will need to submit the right paperwork to maximize your benefits. However, if you submit excess paperwork, it could slow down claim processing. An attorney can go through your medical records, determine what information you actually need to submit, and make sure that you get the right information added to your VCF account. In many cases, an attorney can take care of a large percentage of those tasks on your behalf, which can free you up to focus on other necessary areas of your recovery.
Do You Need Your Medical Paperwork From Mt. Sinai to File a VCF Claim?
You may need your medical paperwork from Mt. Sinai, whether records from hospitalizations or records from your ongoing treatments, to fully establish the compensation you deserve through a VCF claim and help you file for the compensation you deserve. While your Mt. Sinai records may not represent the only evidence you have to prove your claim, they can provide vital supporting evidence that can help the VCF determine exactly how much compensation you can expect.
For some victims, your Mt. Sinai medical records may represent the only evidence you can provide about the full extent of your diagnosis and how much medical treatment you received due to those injuries. If you do not have other medical records establishing what diagnosis you faced and when you received treatment, you may need your Mt. Sinai medical records to complete your claim.
If you do not include your Mt. Sinai records as part of your VCF claim, the VCF may slow processing on your claim or deny payment until you provide them, especially if you do not have other evidence to establish what your Mt. Sinai records would.
Do I Need an Attorney to Access My Mt. Sinai Medical Records?
You do not have to have an attorney to access your Mt. Sinai medical records. As a patient of Mt. Sinai, you have the right to access a copy of your medical records at any time, and the hospital makes it easy for you to request access to those records.
However, an attorney can make it easier to get access to the records you need. An attorney may expedite retrieval of those records, which may make it easier for you to finish filing your VCF claim or to complete other activities that require the use of your medical records. An attorney can also help sort through those records, determine which ones you need, and handle uploading them to your VCF account for you.
Some clients also find that having an attorney can make it easier to manage their entire claim. Often, having an attorney can reduce your stress and allow you to simply sit back and take care of your recovery, rather than having to focus on chasing down your medical records.
If you already have an attorney handling your VCF claim, you may want to have your attorney request your Mt. Sinai medical records. Letting your attorney take care of the records request means one less thing you have to worry about, which may help alleviate overall stress and allow you to focus on treatment, recovery, or other important aspects of your everyday life.
What if Mt. Sinai Will Not Disclose My Records?
Most of the time, Mt. Sinai will provide patients with access to their medical records on request. As the patient, you have the right to request any information relating to your care at any time.
However, if you have struggled to get access to the information you need, or you feel that Mt. Sinai has not provided accurate records or provided you with the records you need, a September 11 attorney can help you gain access to that information and facilitate your application to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and World Trade Center Health Program.
Contact Hansen & Rosasco, LLP today with questions or assistance.Posted under: 9/11 Victim Compensation