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MRA Thought of the Day–Understanding The Dwyer Protocol

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Situation:

Nilda Tamburello RHIA, Vice President of Release Of Information

Nilda Tamburello RHIA, Vice President of Release Of Information

At times the District Attorney’s office will send a subpoena or court order for a criminal case that refers to the “Dwyer Protocol, Dwyer Motion or Commonwealth vs. Dwyer”. This indicates that the judge has determined that the records ordered to be produced are “presumptively privileged”.

Now whether the medical records actually contain sensitive information or not, you must prepare the copies for mailing in a specific manner. And it is important for HIM professionals to understand these nuances.

Here is how we advise to prepare records for mailing under the Dwyer Protocol.

  • Place the medical record copies in a 10×13 envelope.
  • Write the following information in the center of the envelope:
  1. “PRIVILEGED”
  2. Name and Docket Number of the Case
  3. Name of the Record Keeper (hospital name)
  4. The Return Date (due date) Specified on the Order
  • Seal the 10×13 envelope and place it in a USPS Priority envelope addressed to the court.
  • Write the name and docket number of the case, due date and the word “PRIVILEGED” on the lower left corner of the USPS envelope.
  • The word “Privileged” must be recorded on both envelopes as this is the only indication to the clerk of the court that the records shall be maintained separately from the court file with a clear designation “Presumptively Privileged Records”. The name and docket number of the case, hospital name and due date must also appear in order to identify the records enclosed in the sealed envelope.

How do YOU handle The Dwyer Protocol…

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