Many people who sustain injuries or illnesses in the workplace file workers’ compensation claims seeking benefits. Generally, the resolution of a workers’ compensation claim requires information about the health of the employee who suffered harm and about his or her treatment following the harmful event. While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) normally prohibits the release of protected health information, HIPAA allows for the release of this information to workers’ compensation insurers in certain circumstances. Thus, it is critical for people who wish to pursue benefits following workplace illnesses or injuries to understand how workers’ compensation claims could affect their privacy. The dedicated New Jersey HIPAA lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the knowledge needed to advise you on the measures that you can take to protect your privacy.What is HIPAA?
Congress enacted HIPAA in part to protect confidential health information. In other words, under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, health care providers must employ procedures that safeguard the security and confidentiality of protected health information when the information is received, shared, or handled, regardless of whether it is shared electronically, orally, or via a hard copy. Additionally, HIPAA’s Privacy Rule stipulates that health care providers must share or use only the minimum amount of health information required to conduct business. The privacy rights granted under HIPAA belong to individuals, and a health care provider generally must obtain a written waiver of a person’s privacy rights under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule to release protected information without facing penalties.How HIPAA Affects Workers’ Compensation Claims
While HIPAA’s Privacy Rule broadly prohibits the disclosure of protected health information, it does not apply to employers, an employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, or the workers’ compensation administrative agencies. As the HIPAA attorneys at our New Jersey firm can explain, entities covered by HIPAA’s Privacy Rule may release an employee’s protected health information to employers, workers’ compensation insurers, and other parties involved in the workers’ compensation system, even if the employee does not provide an authorization for the release of the information. Notably, employees do not have an independent right under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule to request that their health care providers restrict the disclosure of protected health information to an employer if the disclosure is authorized by law and is necessary to comply with a workers’ compensation law.
Entities covered by HIPAA’s Privacy Rule may also disclose a sick or injured employee’s protected health information if the employee provides an authorization for the release of this information. For example, in some instances, an employer or its workers’ compensation insurer will request that an employee seeking benefits complete an authorization to allow for the release of records that are not directly related to the claim. You can consult our New Jersey HIPAA attorneys for guidance on whether you should complete an authorization.
Regardless of whether protected health information is released with or without an authorization, health care providers are required to limit their disclosures to the minimum amount of information needed to meet the purpose for which the information is sought. In other words, the release of the information is authorized only to the extent necessary to comply with laws related to workers’ compensation or to obtain payments for the care provided to a sick or injured worker. When the disclosure of protected health information is needed to seek payment, the health care provider may disclose the amount and type of information that is required to receive payment for the treatment of a sick or injured worker.Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you intend to seek workers’ compensation benefits, you may want to know the information that you may be asked to disclose. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can guide you through the process of seeking benefits and inform you of your options for protecting your interests. We represent people in workers’ compensation claims in Burlington, Atlantic, Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Essex, Middlesex, Mercer, Ocean, Somerset, Monmouth, Passaic, and Union Counties. We can be reached at 877-450-8301 or through the form online to schedule a meeting with a HIPAA lawyer in New Jersey.