HIPAA Rules and Employee Injury Management

Written by on 8/1/2016 2:57 AM in , , . It has 1 Comments.

HIPAA and employee rights can be confusing for employers and employees alike. Employers gain access to information when employees call in sick, apply for insurance, and file workers comp claim forms. Access to this information does not condone its publicity, however.

Vague standard – or hard and fast law?
Basic legal principles imply employers should not divulge medical information accept for legitimate business purposes. These fairly vague standards, however, have led to laws passed specifically to protect medical record privacy both at the federal and state level.

What about HIPAA? Doesn’t it protect against unauthorized disclosures?
The confusing truth is, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act offers protection in some instances, but not others….

  • Entities covered by HIPAA, such as health providers, plans, and clearinghouses, must provide written notice of privacy procedures, restrict the use of health information, appoint a privacy officer and train staff. Patients can also opt-out of marketing and withhold treatment information from a health plan for services paid out-of-pocket.
    Example: Health records related to life insurance, disability, workers compensation, and other employee benefits are not covered.
  • HIPAA does prevent employers from gaining health information about you directly from your provider without your authorization, unless other laws require disclosure.
    Example: An employer may not directly contact a provider regarding an employee’s recovery outlook.
  • HIPAA controls how health plans/providers can disclose protected heath information to employers – however it does NOT protect your employment records, even with respect to health information.
    Example: Supervisor requiring a doctor’s note for sick leave/workers’ comp.

Are HIPAA and employee rights in your state at war with one another? Win the fight with Minnesota Comp Advisor.

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