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Atkinson Gerber Law Office
Injured? Take Action Now!

Injured at work: Why did my boss request my mental health records?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

An on-the-job injury can lead to workers’ compensation benefits. Any injured worker going through the claims process may expect the need to complete and provide paperwork, including copies of various medical records. But what happens when a request seems unrelated?

Take an orthopedic injury as an example. Perhaps you suffered a workplace injury like a broken bone, serious back injury, or ACL tear. You expect the workers’ comp provider to ask for copies of any scans of the area and doctor’s notes related to treatment of this injury, but are surprised when the workers’ compensation provider comes back with an unexpected request: copies of mental health records.

Perhaps there is something in your record you would rather keep private, or you simply find the request unrelated to the workplace accident and offensive. Whatever the reason, your hesitation to give the provider access to these records is valid.

Can I keep my records private?

In most cases, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies, and workers’ compensation insurers, employers, and others involved in the claim can generally only receive access to the records you authorize. You can fill out authorization paperwork to guide who gets what.

It is important to read and complete these forms carefully, so you only provide access to the records you want the provider to review. Watch out for blanket forms. These forms can mean you unintentionally provide full access to your records.

It is also important to note that there are some exceptions to HIPAA protections. An attorney can review these exceptions and discuss if they have any potential impact on your case.

Should I release my records?

This decision will vary depending on the details of the accident, injury, and case. It is wise to discuss such decisions with legal counsel. Your attorney will advocate for your interests and can review the benefits and risks of such disclosure, better ensuring you make a decision that will help you reach the best possible outcome.

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