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What you should know about HIPAA and workers’ comp claims

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

Even people who know very little about the Health Insurance Portable and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) generally know something about its Privacy Rule that details requirements for how medical providers and facilities, as well as pharmacies and health insurance companies, handle people’s health care information.

If you’ve filed a workers’ compensation claim, you might be surprised to learn that many of the HIPAA privacy protections you take for granted don’t apply. HIPAA, for example, gives your employer the right to access information from your doctor regarding your work-related injury or illness.

Some privacy restrictions still apply

That doesn’t mean that just anyone can access your medical information. Employers, insurers and claims adjusters are considered “covered entities” that are allowed to see the information. However, they still have to follow strict guidelines when storing and transmitting information.

Further, employers aren’t entitled to view your entire medical history. They’re only allowed access to information that directly relates to a person’s workers’ comp claim unless the person has provided written authorization for them to do so.

Each state has its own agency that oversees workers’ compensation. However, they’re all governed by the same HIPAA restrictions. The Louisiana Workforce Commission provides information about HIPAA and the Privacy Rule as they relate to workers’ compensation claims as well as what rights covered entities have to access and share information.

If you file a workers’ compensation claim, it’s wise to know just what your rights to privacy are. If you believe that your private medical information has been mishandled by your employer or others involved in your workers’ compensation claim, you may want to seek legal guidance.