Life care plans play a crucial role in both automobile crashes and personal injury cases, providing an organized and comprehensive plan for the current and future medical needs of individuals with catastrophic injuries or chronic healthcare needs. These plans are often developed by the plaintiff’s life care planner, but it’s important for defense attorneys to have the ability to analyze, rebut, and critique them.
At times it can be challenging when the defense does not have access to the plaintiff by way of Compulsory Medical Examination (CME) or by way of patient interview to develop a life care plan.
However, an alternative option is to perform an analysis of the plaintiff’s life care plan and cost projections. This analysis can involve reviewing recommendations (made by the life care planner or treating health care providers), associated frequency, and cost analysis performed. Additional consideration is given to factors such as the plaintiff’s current pattern of care, current evidence-based guidelines for treatment and medications, healthcare providers’ recommendations, and the expertise of the certified life care planner.
By conducting this analysis, defense attorneys can help determine the reasonableness of the recommendations, frequency, and cost of the life care plan submitted by plaintiff.
Life care plan rebuttals and critiques can serve as a “second review” of future needs and associated costs given by plaintiff’s life care planner. Our rebuttal reports can provide opinions related to items included in the plaintiff’s life care plan, assessing their reasonableness and necessity. Rebuttals can also take into consideration pre-existing conditions, consistent standards of practice and performance, and methodology throughout the plan.
Chris McDermott, a Certified Life Care Planner & Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Autonomous Practice, specializes in providing life care plan rebuttals and critiques. His reports offer insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiff’s proposed life care plan, suggesting changes, alternatives, or items to be removed.
Life care plan analyses, rebuttals, and critiques can be invaluable tools for defense attorneys. They provide a means to assess the accuracy, objectivity, and appropriateness of the plaintiff’s life care plan. Without a medical background or understanding of life care planning methodology and/or standards of practice and performance, it can be challenging for defense attorneys to determine the validity of the plan’s conclusions. By engaging in these analyses and critiques, defense attorneys can gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiff’s plan, allowing them to develop effective strategies for their case.
Life care planning is a process of applying methodological analysis to formulate diagnostic conclusions and opinions regarding physical and/or mental impairment and disability for the purpose of determining care requirements for individuals with permanent or chronic medical conditions.
The International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals states the official definition of life care planning as “The life care plan is a dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis, and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs.”
Topics considered for inclusion in a life care plan include evaluations, therapies, diagnostic testing, medical and adaptive equipment, aids for independent functioning, prescription and nonprescription medications, home care/facility care, routine medical care, transportation, architectural modifications, potential complications, surgical intervention, and vocational services.
A life care plan rebuttal (often times referred to as a life care plan analysis or life care plan critique) is prepared for a defense attorneys to analysis and critique the life care plan provided by plaintiff.
When the defense seeks a comprehensive evaluation of the plaintiff’s proposed life care plan, assessing its medical necessity and reasonableness for future care, as well as determining if the associated costs align with usual, reasonable, and customary expenses, a life care plan rebuttal becomes necessary. Additionally, the rebuttal aims to determine whether the preparation of the life care plan adhered to current best practices.
Information required to begin a life care plan rebuttal (critique) include the plaintiff’s life care plan, plaintiff’s medical records, any depositions transcripts from the plaintiff, family members, and treating health care providers and/or expert reports.
A life care plan rebuttal encompasses evaluations and assessments of the items featured in the plaintiff’s life care plan, examining the methodology, standards of practice/performance, cost analysis for reasonableness, appropriateness, and necessity. The rebuttal may propose changes, recommend alternative options, or suggest the removal of certain items from the life care plan based on expert opinions.