Does HIPPA apply in Workers Compensation claims? My husband rolled his company truck this past Monday. Originally, he was released to work after 2 days off (today was 1st possible day back to work, but drug screen results weren't in yet).
Today, he had a follow-up app't with Occupational Health. Now, he's off work until Monday - and no driving. The reason is that he needs to be on the meds., and his is a fairly physical job plus LOTS of driving.
The boss is TICKED. Says, he's coming to the follow-up app't. Monday. That IS a company policy, BUT IS THAT LEGAL??? Tell me it isn't!
Selma, he signed no HIPPA form giving any consent about anything. No nurse has been assigned - his boss was hoping this would "blow over"??? He (the boss) only reported this to company WC officials late last night, but the accident was at 7:45 Monday morning! That's when the boss said he'd be attending app't withhubby and hubby (this was all in e-mail) said basically, it's waiting room for you, buddy.
Cherie - Thank you, too! "wrong and illegal". Words I was hoping to hear, as they just make sense.
No one can be in the room without your husbands consent.
I don't see why it's such a big deal though. The accident happened in a company vehicle and if your husband has nothing to hide it shouldn't be a problem. By not
allowing the boss to talk to the dr it will only make him more irate and cause further
Its a very big deal. Medical matters are private, even a spouse is not entitled to your medical information without permission. If the boss becomes irate because you insist that he respect your privacy (and the law), the doctor should have him removed from the premises. Its not a question of having something to hide, its a question of legal rights, not to mention human dignity.
Right. The employer is allowed to have some information, but they certainly aren't allowed to go to the physician's office with their employee ! What kind of boss would suggest such a thing anyway ? Does this person not respect the law and/or the rights of his employees ?
I used to work as a paralegal for a workers compensation attorney - we represented the employee. Employers are NOT allowed to accompany an employee to an appointment unless the employee gives consent. If he was hurt on the job, the employer still cannot go. The employer can request, through their workers comp insurance company, that and Independent Medical Examination (IME) be done by a doctor of their choosing. I used to attend IMEs with our clients so that the doctor could not put anything in the report that did not really happen - it kept them honest. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that's the law in all the states. Does your hubby have a workers comp attorney? If not, he might want to consult with one. They work on a contingency fee and state law only allows them to receive a certain percentage. In PA it was 20% of any settlement.
Good luck! If you have any specific questions, please let me know. You can PM me if you'd like.
(By the way, make sure your hubby does not do anything that he is not supposed to according to doctor's orders. Sometimes the employer will hire a private detective to follow you around to see if you are being honest about what you can and can't do.)
Thanks, everyone, for your help/responses. This manager is the fear and intimidation type of manager. He probably knows that he cannot, LEGALLY, attend the appointment. IF my husband was easily intimidated into letting him, then he would do it.
My husband DID contact a WC attorney today and found out that he WAS correct in standing his boss down on attending the app't.
I appreciate the advice about following Dr.'s orders to a "T". We were already heeding this. I've been driving everywhere. BIG PROBLEM FOR MONDAY: Hubby has an app't, and I will be at work. No one returned hubby's calls or e-mails today, but the app't is at 9:30 Monday a.m.! Hubby was already working very reduced hours, and told by attorney that WC compensation takes a while to catch up to you. I cannot afford to take off - not sure what to do!
My husband is anxious to return to work - it's just that neck injuries are treated delicately. (Hubby was hanging in cab of truck by the seatbelt when truck came to rest on the roof.) He's pretty sure he's going to be fine, but there is a time for healing. PLUS, he can't take the meds and drive - and his job requires TONS of driving! That's all this is; he has nothing to hide. He's painfully aware of how that looks; he resents the aggressiveness of his boss.
No one can go into an exam room without the consent of the patient. Being that it is work related the notes from the exam will be turned over to the employer and workers comp people. If a doctor says you do not work, you do not work, period. Nothing the employer can do about it. If doc says you can answer the phone, you answer the phone. It is up to the doc, not your employer nor workers comp.
The government (and every medical clinic in this country) takes HIPAA laws very seriously. I'm happy because it seems like nothing is confidential anymore.
If your husband feels like his rights are being violated and especially if he is going to pursue this, then he should keep copies of e-mails and document everything. I feel for you guys and can't imagine how stressful this must be.
tekos right...its what the doctor says you can or cannot do for work mans comp,,,,and as I stated in first reply this is unethical and illegal,,you do have a case if you choose to purse it know that the doctor will take the fall along with your husbands boss....or perhaps instead of because it was his responsibility,,,Ive had doctors ask if I want my husband to step out of room before they do anything invasive to me...
The obvious has already been stated many times. HIPPA protects your privacy. Your husband's WC Carrier has the right to all information relating to the accident. How much of the details they can legally share with the employer will depend on several factors. Certainly they must share any information regarding his ability or inability to perform his job. Medical findings that may be discovered that are not related to his job or his injury may not be shared with the employer.
Your husband needs to find transportation to his appt on Monday, even if that means hiring a driver or a taxi. Some transportation costs are covered by WCI. Do not allow him to drive himself.
sorry i went of to get her profile name its jdwithhcv,.she is belonged to the cancer forum
you should give her a bell ,.and ask her about this ,..
i think your husbands boss is going to far this this ,...the cheek of him !!
He doesn't have that right. That being said, there is a "missing piece" to this story. In a union teamster shop this would not be permitted. I suspect the boss was simply "blowing smoke" because he was annoyed about the accident.
Your husband requires a DOT physical if he has a CDL. In order for him to return to work he requires this physical.
I have rolled a vehicle and didn't get a scratch. He has to ask himself whether or not he was really injured. If he has had a genuine cervical injury he should NOT be going back to work in such a short time.
Unless he struck his head, I see no reason for an MRI.
If he did strike his head, the most common problem is a subluxion, or whiplash, which, unfortunatly, doesn't usually cause problems until six months to a year after the accident.
As you know workman's comp doesn't pay salary until you are out for two weeks. And when you agree to have a claim processed under workman's comp (you CAN refuse) you forgo the right to excercise a tort claim.
When you sign a release, make sure the release has a specific limitation, and is not an "indefinite" release.
I agree with all the advice given above concerning the patient's right to privacy in a healthcare setting.
However, it may be that a source of the boss's confusion is that HIPAA does *not* apply to employers. "Covered entities" (i.e. those who are covered by 45 CFR, aka HIPAA) are limited to the following:
- a health care provider;
- a health care clearinghouse; or
- a health insurance plan.
Contracts may require employees to provide medical documentation in some situations, and the employer may retain it in personnel files. HIPAA does not prevent this. (Other laws, such as the Privacy Act of 1974 may provide some protections.)
However, I can not imagine any employment contract that allows a boss into a medical exam room with an employee. In fact, the mere suggestion seems like harassment due to a physical disability, which could be a violation of the American With Disabilities Act.
All of this is well and good in the "theoretical".
In practice a complaint will insure he never gets overtime, gets the worst rig in the fleet, won't get his vacation scheduled when he wants it, will get the worst job assignments of any driver, and will be the first to be layed off.
There is a "missing piece" to this story.
The boss obviously believes this person was responsible for the accident. This may not be the case. He may be blameless. All of this nonsense about "wanting to go to the doctor's" was blowing smoke. A dispatcher or trucking supervisor has better things to do than waste an afternoon this way.
Unless he was driving an unbaffled tanker it is it pretty hard to roll a truck (I didn't hear he was broadsided) unless your load was improperly placed with a high center of gravity or you were speeding excessively or you were in the tractor beam of an alien spaceship.
Be thankful he was O.K. and try to put oil over troubled waters.
I should update this saga. Caregiver, you are absolutely correct: I believe the boss was blowing smoke. He is ticked off that this accident happened. This manager has had 5 accidents in 2 weeks time - 3 were roll-overs. The territory is all in Wisconsin and ALL accidents were black ice related.
My husband received *no* traffic ticket. He was driving *under* the speed limit. (Hubby was driving a 2-wheel drive pick-up with a topper; he is a supervisor for a utility locating company, NOT a big-rig truck driver - I'm actually the CDL driver - lol!)
When my husband sent the manager an e-mail stating that the manager should go through proper channels to receive medical info, my husband cc'd the WC insurance carrier representative. FUNNY THING HAPPENED. The manager has had NO further contact with hubby.
On 1/30/09, hubby was released to return to work/drive with weight-lifting restriction of 20lbs., will return to work on 2/2/09.
Thanks for posting - I hope this clarifies the "missing piece".
I work for a vet clinic that does not do workers comp. In texas it's not required by employers. The boss private pays. Here's the thing. She sends her mother to sit in the room for exams. Is this legal? Does she have this right to jump in with questions that won't benefit me but will benefit them? I feel like a 5 yr old having mommy along to hold my hand and I'm 58! This bends the plane of all ethics and anything else she can. She actually had me in a room tonight with a witness to tell me what she wrote down about what i said happened with the injury. She was mad I didn't wait for her mother to be there saying I totally ignored what she said. I know she had her phone in her pocket recording everything that was said in the room also. Didn't tell me she was doing this. Need some help here cause I'm fed up with this person acting like the king in her own little idaho. If not can you direct me to where I need to be. Thx
My husband has been injured twice during his two year employment. The injuries were minor but the employer both times drove my husband to the doctors office and sat in during the exam even told the doctor in both instances that no meds were needed for my husband's injuries. This doctor is contracted through my husband's company so does this give them the right to do this?
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