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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why is it important to tell your doctor about the side effects of your prescription medications in a disability claim?

We see it over and over....our clients will tell us about the drowsiness, fogginess, lightheadness, or other side effects from the pharmacy of medications their doctors have them taking....but then we never see anything about it in the doctor's notes! Why is that a problem? Because disability insurance company adjusters love to say that they are not considering any claimed side effects as valid, because the doctor has not recorded them.

The insurer's theory is essentially this: if the side effects were that bad, you would tell your doctor, and he would record them.

You are probably saying that is ridiculous. We hear all the time from our clients that they assume the doctor knows the side effects....and surely, the doctor does....but it's not getting into the notes that way. We also know doctors who tells us that they do know the side effects and see no need to write them in their notes because they expect it is happening.

If you have a disability claim and your side effects would impact your ability to work, you MUST tell your doctor about them AND make sure the doctor puts it into their notes.

1. Write down a list of your medications and describe the side effects for each - type of side effects, how often they happen, how long they last. Bring it with you to EVERY doctor you see. Write the date of your appointment on it.

2. If they have you fill out paperwork when you go into a doctor's office, write down your medications and their side effects on that paperwork....even if there is no blank for side effects on the form, write them down anyway.

3. Tell the nurse who sees you before the doctor comes in. Hand your list that you brought (see #1 above) to the nurse, and explain that you want that list put in your chart.

4. Tell the doctor about your side effects. Make the doctor listen, and explain that you would like that information put in the chart, because your insurance company says they must not be happening if your doctor is not writing your side effects in the notes.

5. Get copies of your doctors' notes every month, and check to make sure they are recording your medication side effects.

If you follow these steps, you will have less problems with an adjuster telling you that your side effects really are not that bad or that they don't impact working.

1 comment:

Contributing Author said...

Great advice and definitely worth the effort on the part of the patient. Just because a person has a disability insurance policy doesn't mean they can be ignorant of the proper means of reporting medical complications. In fact, it's an adjuster's job to take advantage of people who don't get their doctor to corroborate their claim.

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