The Physician-Patient Privilege
There are federal and state laws that protect the privacy of medical records. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is a federal law meant to protect patient information. New York also has laws regarding a patient’s right to maintain the confidentiality of his or her medical records.
But how do these laws and the physician-patient privilege apply in workers’ compensation cases? Our attorneys can answer your questions regarding the privacy of your medical information. We understand that you may have concerns. We will work to protect your medical records as appropriate to the case. Speak with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers at 347-201-4447 to learn more.
How Is The Physician-Patient Privilege Treated?
While there are laws in place to protect medical information and the physician-patient privilege, some of them may not apply in workers’ compensation cases. In a workers’ compensation claim, your relevant medical records are part of the case. Refusing to allow the insurance company attorneys or New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to view your relevant medical information may result in you receiving little or no benefits. Additionally, the defense may compel your doctor’s testimony.
In New York, plaintiffs in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases do, in some respect, waive the physician-patient privilege by filing a lawsuit or claim that is based on their medical condition. If you are seeking financial damages or workers’ compensation benefits because you are injured or ill, your medical records are at issue.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule does not prevent workers’ compensation agencies, insurers or employers from obtaining protected medical information without authorization from the patient. They may seek this information as “necessary to comply with laws relating to workers’ compensation or similar programs established by law that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness without regard to fault.”
A lawyer may work to limit the medical records to ensure only those necessary to the case are disclosed. We can fight unreasonable requests or disclosures without authorization.