Scratching my head over a Verification of Illness form
July 29, 2012 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Frustrated with a "Verification of Illness" form. Rattling my brain trying to figure out how to fill this out.

For those who are familiar with my story, I've been away from post-secondary schooling close to 3 years now. Currently in the process of taking academic-upgrade courses (and doing very well in them, yay!) - I've decided that I'm confident about committing to university. Unfortunately, this won't be easy, despite my recent good grades. I have to complete a petition. During the term I had to withdraw, I was sick with measles, so this is something I do want to mention. And this is where the problem lies.

I have to fill out a "verification of illness" form (for those who are interested, I can message this to you)

3 years ago, there was no "verification of illness" form that existed. Thus, I never asked any healthcare professional that treated me to fill it out (it requests information on how "severe" my illness is, how long I've been ill, along with physician signatures/contact/CSPO # etc. so some very extensive detail). When I sat down to fill out my petition a few months ago, I realized this was going to pose a major problem. Basically, if you want medical exemption, you need to fill this form. No ifs and buts. Somehow, I feel the fact that it wasn't required back then is irrelevant. If I want to submit a petition now, I better have it. I do have detailed hospital reports, and a lab result, that proves I was sick - but nothing from an actual doctor.

Here are the problems:
* I saw only one doctor when I was hospitalized for measles (not diagnosed at the time), and too, at the emergency department (since I was away from home and had no contact with my family doctor)
* I was sick for a whiiiile, i.e. months, after the actual measles. Again, I saw several doctors about my weekly fevers, but they were all walk-in
* Not one of these professionals has any extensive awareness about my health at the time
* It's been 3 years, so I can't even beg for them to remember
* Yes, I was a short-sighted fool!

I'm not sure how to deal with this. Call the various professionals that treated me, and ask them to remember my health-status based on a few logged reports? Who should 'sign' this form then? Tell the university that I have no intention of submitting this particular form (this could be a gamble) because it didn't exist at the time I was actually sick? Really horribly stuck. Let this be a lesson to all -please take a note of everything! Or at least have one person who truly knows your whole situation. Lack of evidence can bite you in the ass.
posted by raintree to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They don't have to remember. Doctors fill out forms like this all the time, and they do it by looking at their records/reports, not their memory. You can contact your school and ask if they'd prefer to hear from your current doctor or the ER doctor.
posted by acidic at 9:34 PM on July 29, 2012 [14 favorites]

Where I would start:

Call the University, and ask them what you should do. Explain that you were treated on an emergent and walk-in basis, and that you had no real continuity of care. Offer your lab results and hospital reports in lieu of this particular form. They might well accept that.

If they really need this form and only this form, call the Emergency Department at the hospital where you were treated. Doctors have short memories, but records departments have long ones; they will be able to find the information you need. It may take ages, but you can probably track all these details down. If the walk-up facilities were affiliated with the hospital where you were treated, everything can probably be done by the emergency doctor; if not, you may have to have all your medical records sent to one physician.

Be patient and communicative with everyone you encounter; be calm with your questions and effusive with your thanks. If you run into roadblocks, keep calling the university and asking them what you should be doing. I have had tremendous luck navigating bureaucracies this way; I hope the same for you.
posted by KathrynT at 9:35 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Is there someone at the school that you trust? You could ask them for advice. My feeling is that they're probably not as worried about the details of this form as you are. Ask them if it has to be someone who treated you or just someone who's familiar with the situation.

If you like your family doctor okay and s/he likes you okay, I would probably get an appointment with them, explain the situation, tell them what happened, show them the lab reports, and ask them to sign it. Or drop off a packet and a note if that's how their office works.

I agree with KathrynT's suggestions, too.
posted by wintersweet at 9:36 PM on July 29, 2012

While the doctors who treated you are ideal, if there are medical records to back this up, your current doctor, even if s/he didn't treat you at the time, would probably be willing to fill this form out and attest to your medical history. I know how huge this probably seems, but it's much less complicated than you are imagining. Good luck & congrats about your academic progress!
posted by katemcd at 11:13 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

It looks like you had a family doctor at the time. To add to katemcd, their office should be able to request your records from the various clinics and ER. If you listed your family doctor on the paperwork, they may already have had copies sent to them. You may want to get as much together on your own as you can from the suggestions above. If you have insurance, they should be able to send you a summary of all the services charged to them.
posted by Yorrick at 11:43 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

As someone who has had to deal with being ill as a grown up (and more often, loved ones doing the same thing) and being worried about it, I just wanted to pop in to agree with:

My feeling is that they're probably not as worried about the details of this form as you are.

We first come into contact with "excuse" forms like this as kids when they are used to separate those who are skipping classes, so we're socialized to think of it as an "us vs. them" scenario, even when we're telling the truth. But in my experience, most people involved in this process for adults believe what you're telling them and are just going through the formalities. Same thing with the doctors; they're used to filling out these things and are willing to do what you need, even if they don't personally remember you.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:37 AM on July 30, 2012

The doctor doesn't need to remember the details of your illness. S/he just needs to have access to your medical records to be able to write down "According to records from Local Hospital, on June 7, 2009, raintree visited Emergency and was diagnosed with severe measles. She was hospitalized for two days, then advised to stay home for 2 weeks. She sought follow up care on June 21, 2009 for lingering symptoms. She is now fully recovered and able to participate in normal activities, including return to university."

That's something that any doctor, including one who didn't diagnose or treat you at the time, can do for you. That's why the medical profession has standards for how to keep records, so that your future doctors can know what happened to you and how it turned out. I mean, imagine if you had to track down your old pediatrician in order to get verification in your 20s that you had your childhood vaccinations. Moreover, what would people do if their doctors retired or died or moved to China? Doctors are used to filling these out, and institutions are used to reading them. I realize that this is a huge deal in your life, but it's very minor for the folks the form is for, so try not to worry about it.
posted by decathecting at 6:49 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

My first guess is that this is a bureaucratic process. Fill it in as best you can. Get an MD to sign it. If it is true overall, don't worry overly much about precision. If you have to, just pick a date that closely approximates your best memory and fits with the medical records you have.

I say this because I worked for an insurance company for five years and people would get all wrapped around the axle about me wanting a specific date of injury or treatment for our records. At one time, the company allowed employees to use the first or last day of the month for some things and that meant we did not have to call the customer if they had provided month and year but no date. Then they changed their internal policy, possibly for legal reasons or regulatory reasons -- in other words probably due to some kind of external pressure.

So, in short, the computerized database I had to fill out to cut you a check required month, day, and year and I was forbidden from making up a date if it was missing. I had to call or write the customer and ask them for a date. Some people understood and would happily say, in essence, "My best recollection is that it was the Friday before. That would be the 21st." Other people spazzed about being unable to remember the exact date and were unwilling to verbally give me their best guess. In the vast majority of cases, it made zero difference if they picked a day of the month out of thin air. I just needed a date to make my computer happy and it had to come from the customer, not me, so my quality scores stayed high enough to keep my job.

As long as you are not actually committing fraud and actively lying to get benefits not due you, the people in the system typically understand that some of the information submitted will be your best recollection and possibly not 100% accurate. If the medical records fit with what you claim, it should be fine.
posted by Michele in California at 12:51 PM on July 30, 2012

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