Life Care Plans and Physician Conferences

As is stated in each of our reports containing a medical cost analysis, life care plans are derived from several sources of information, including an initial interview, a review of medical records, physician, and allied health professional recommendations, and research regarding the standard of care for each specific injury. We utilize a structured interview to gather preliminary information regarding an individual’s medical, social, and psychological history and current functioning. This information provides the framework for building a life care plan, which is supplemented with research, and, when possible, we rely on corroborating and supplementary information learned via communication with treating or consulting physicians and allied health professionals.

While some of these important recommendations can be obtained during a review of medical records, more often than not records do not outline the care likely to be necessary throughout an individual’s life expectancy. Further, even when recommendations are found in medical records, the frequency and duration of those recommendations are rarely offered. To address this, when possible, we use the medical record review to identify information pertaining to an individual’s treatment needs and to generate questions based on each specialist’s area of expertise. With targeted questions in hand, we then contact the treating or consulting physicians or allied health professionals and offer to send them a questionnaire or to schedule a telephone conference. Physicians and allied health professionals tend to appreciate the option regarding how to communicate their recommendations, as well as our targeted and well-developed questions.

As an example, when generating questions for an orthopedic physician who has been providing pain management interventions for an individual, we would ask about the frequency and duration of future interventions that are required, as well as the threshold, if any, for transitioning from interventional pain management to surgical options. In addition, we would inquire about the medications and therapies necessary for generally treating the injury or illness, as well as medications and therapies associated with acute post-procedural or postsurgical care. We also inquire as to the probability of those recommendations - recommendations are only included in the life care plan if they are described as more likely than not, indicating a greater than 50% chance of being required.

While we are not always able to communicate with treatment providers, whether due to time constraints, lack of response from the provider, or difficulty obtaining approval to contact the providers, we always make an effort to do so. Communication with physicians and relevant allied health professionals gives us the opportunity to ask pointed questions and get detailed answers, often above and beyond what is contained in a chart note or progress report. The richness of information we are able to gather during that communication enables us to generate a valid and reliable life care plan.

Through a complimentary consultation, we are happy to share any information about our experience with utilizing physician conferences to benefit a specific case.

To strategize with one of our experts at Stokes & Associates, please call David Barrett at
504- 454-5009, visit our website, or email

Larry S. Stokes, Ph.D.
Aaron Wolfson, Ph.D.
Todd Capielano, M.Ed., LRC, CRC, LPC, CLCP