How Your Doctor Can Figure into the VCF Claims Process
The Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) claims process was designed to ensure compensation funds only go to people with legitimate diagnoses of WTC-related illnesses. As such, medical evidence plays a substantial role not only in determining whether a claimant qualifies but also the amount of compensation he or she should receive. Receiving prompt treatment and working with your doctor is essential to the success of your VCF claim.
For those who have received treatment through the WTC Health Program, VCF administrators may already have relatively easy access to the medical records necessary to process your claim. Those treated by a private physician, however, may face a more challenging process. Although the VCF initially intended to contact private doctors directly on behalf of claimants, this didn’t prove feasible. It is now necessary for claimants to obtain several pieces of evidence from their private doctors:
- Treating Physician Information Form — This form contains basic contact information for your physician, as well as a list of all conditions you were treated for and the onset and diagnosis date for each.
- Medical records — Claimants must request all medical records relating to the conditions for which compensation is sought. Claimants may obtain and submit the records themselves or ask their doctors to send records directly to the VCF. In either case, claimants must take the initiative and cannot rely upon VCF to obtain documentation for them.
Despite the fact that VCF usually does not obtain medical records, it is still crucial that all applications include a fully executed Authorization for the Release of Medical Records. This form is necessary to allow the VCF to exchange health information with certain related programs and entities like the WTC Health Program and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Working with a Victim Compensation Fund attorney can help ensure the completeness of your application and avoid unnecessary delays in its processing.