From the onset of Life Care Planning, the initial group trained by Paul Deutch were instructed to determine the cost of the various items in the Plan by contacting anywhere from three to five medical providers and vendors in the evaluee’s local geographical area. Over the years, Life Care Planners have become lazy and followed a path to destruction by moving away from this initial methodology, determining Life Care Plan costs using the physician’s fee schedule issued by the insurance industry and/or determining the average cost of services through the use of CPT Codes. This methodology artificially reduces medical costs by 20-25%.
The best way to illustrate how destructive this is to a case is to look at actual testimony from a recent case:
Q: Dr. Jones how did you determine the cost of the items in your Life Care Plan?
A: I consulted the Physician Fee Schedule.
Q: Who puts out this book?
A: The Insurance Industry.
Q: Doctor, you are aware that the Plaintiff has relocated to the Kansas City area?
Q: In order to determine the costs of an Orthopedist in Kansas City did you contact any physicians
Q: Did you contact any physical therapists to find out their costs in Kansas City?
Q: Did you call the Plaintiff’s Neurologists to find the cost of his treatment in Kansas City?
Q: So Doctor, you did it the lazy way by looking in a book instead of actually contacting physicians in the Kansas City area?
A: I used the Physician’s Fee Schedule.
Q: Isn’t it true that the standard methodology to determine the cost of the items in a Life Care Plan is to call providers of services in the geographical area as the defendant’s Life Care Planner did?
Needless to say, the court gave the Plaintiff’s Life Care Plan little weight and determined the defendant’s Life Care Planner’s methodology and costs were more accurate.
In another recent case, the Life Care Planner researched the costs of various items in Texas as opposed to Alabama where the Plaintiff resided.
In conclusion, this is a cautionary tale of making sure the Life Care Planner retained by an attorney uses a standard methodology of performing Life Care Plan Research. If not, the damages part of the personal injury case could be placed in Jeopardy.
Occupational Assessment Services has been involved as Vocational Expert/Life Care Planners in some of the largest verdicts in the United States, including Escobar vs. the State of New Jersey which received a verdict of $166,000,000 and Verni vs. Armark which received a $105,000,000 verdict. Without the use of the OAS Life Care Planner/Vocational Expert comprehensive reports and services, these large verdicts may not have been achieved.
OAS is a Nationwide Vocational and Life Care Plan Expert service with offices in NJ, NY, FL, TX, CT, GA, NV PA, and CA. To see how OAS Vocational Expert/Life Care Plan reports can assist you in documenting the damages in your Personal Injury cases, consult www.oasinc.org or call 800-292-1919 for a proposal containing the experts’ professional qualifications, fee schedule, and sample life care plan report.