The Bottom Line on HIPAA and Personal Injury Claims
Everyone has heard of HIPAA. And think they understand the law regarding it. You might be surprised to learn some misconceptions. And, how HIPAA applies to personal injury claims. We’re happy to provide you with the basics.
First, you’ve heard the acronym. But, what does HIPAA stand for? It is the federal legislation called the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act. You can read a little bit about your overall rights on the federal government’s website.
HIPAA’s basic concern is with protecting patient privacy. Many people are confused as to who is bound by HIPAA regulations. We’ll go over who actually has responsibility.
Entities Bound by HIPAA Laws
We’ve discovered another common misconception. You may think that discussing your case with a friend gives you protection under HIPAA. They owe you no privacy under law. Perhaps they have a moral obligation, but that’s about it. Here are the entities who are not permitted to release any information concerning your medical condition without written authorization:
- Health plans
- Health care clearinghouses – This could be billing companies or community health information services, for example
- Health care providers, such as doctors, physical therapists and hospitals, etc.
Workers Compensation Claims and HIPAA Regulations
Were you injured at work? Here’s the first surprise. You may assume that your employer is not permitted to know anything about your medical conditions. Technically, this is true in many cases.
However, workers compensation insurance companies are not bound by HIPAA privacy rules. In fact, medical providers may also turn over requested records to employer without a signed authorization. The caveat is that the individual must have been involved in a work-related accident.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we advise our workers compensation clients to speak with us regarding any concerns they may have that their HIPAA rights may have been violated with regards to their claims.
When the Defense Wants Your Records
When you file a claim for personal injury, there is no doubt that defense counsel will want to secure your medical records. They may make a motion to the court for them. The attorneys for the defendant may also subpoena doctor’s records. Or, they may send your legal counsel a medical authorization requesting your signature.
Some defendant’s attorneys will ask plaintiff’s lawyers to supply records. As attorneys who represent those who have suffered personal injury, we have our clients sign medical authorizations so that we can obtain their records for our files. This is done as a matter of course.
We never advise clients to sign blanket medical authorizations without our review. There is a reason to retain experienced legal counsel.
Do you have a personal injury claim? Confused about HIPPA regulations? The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has many years of experience and is happy to answer questions. Contact us to discuss your concerns.