Q: Do I HAVE to release my medical records for my worker's comp claim?
I strained my lumbar region at work just short of a month ago and I have gone the course of alerting my employer of the strain, going to treatment, and was pending response about lost wages until this week. I received a check for lost time so far, but also received a packet containing paperwork for me to sign to release my medical records to them from the past 5-10 years. I personally do not feel comfortable releasing this information to them and have been told by several people to NOT release anything to them. I know that HIPAA cannot be used in this situation from prior information searches I've done, but I just don't know what the outcome will be if I just don't respond to the requests.
Note: I have not quit my job or been given reason to assume negative outcome from my employer. We are pending return to work approval at the moment.
A: The worker’s compensation insurance carrier wants to get your prior medical records to see if you had injured the same body part before. They should subpoena any records they need. You don’t need to sign the medical release forms. You should consult with anyone of us on Justia for a free consultation.
A: You do not have to release the records, BUT the insurer can decide to deny the claim for failure to participate fully in discovery. It shouldn't be permitted but it is. When you ask Workers Comp insurance to pay benefits for treatment and disability, the insurer is entitled to see if you hurt that body section before or hurt it elsewhere. So if your claim is denied for failure to participate in discovery, then you have to go to a Qualified Medical Evaluator who wants to see ALL of your medical records for a complete medical history. You can exclude any records that pertain to mental health care, HIV/AIDS tests/treatment, substance abuse treatment. The good news is most health care providers don't look very hard for records and deliver 'certificate of no records' when they don't find anything spelled exactly as it is on the records subpena.
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