Just as new LNCs are feeling their way, so are new attorneys. And plaintiff counsel may not have a flexible budget until they have been in practice for a while.
Personal injury and med-mal attorneys who tell their clients that “they won’t pay unless their case is won” still have to cover expenses. Workers compensation attorneys must convince the injured worker that a body of work is important enough to warrant a portion of their settlement. So even though a merit screen or a chronology is warranted, that attorney may worry that the client will not see the value in such services. After all, they expect the attorney to know if their case is viable.
On rare occasion, a new attorney may ask a nurse consultant to meet directly with a patient in case evaluation, and to accept payment for their service directly from the patient. This practice is not recommended for the independent nurse contractor.
I want my attorney to be comfortable, but I also know that my value resides in anonymity. When asked if I will accept payment from the patient directly, here is my reply.
I understand that you will pass this expense on to your client, but it is in both of our best interests to maintain a veil between me and your client.
1. An assessment for merit is a clinically objective appraisal.
2. Clients (as you know) are emotional and feel they must compel someone to agree with them.
3. My relationship as an independent contractor is with you – you are my client.
4. Merit may be in question because of inconsistencies in the client’s complaint, or because they are over-reaching, or because they equate malpractice with unforeseeable complications and mistakes. This is pivotal, but a hard pill to swallow.
5. My value to you is my invisibility because you are the principal – you are the person they want to hire – I am in the background.
6. My work product is always confidential and my opinion is withheld from experts, even when they use my objective chronology. I cannot control this process if I am accessible or responsible to anyone but you.
That said, I can write a short paragraph that explains exactly what I will be doing and why an experienced nurse should evaluate medical records.
If there is a question of merit and you decide not to take the case, I can craft a short and clear layman’s explanation of the medical injury/condition for you to incorporate into your response.
Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you in this matter.
I look forward to a long working relationship with you.
All the best,