Medical Privacy Legislation: Implications for Workers’ Compensation

By Ramona P. Tanabe

October 1, 2000 Related Topics: System Overview, Other

As the amount and diversity of health-related data recorded under our current and evolving health care system increases, so do concerns about safeguarding the content of this medical data. To combat these growing concerns, recommendations have been made for legislation and regulation at both the state and federal levels to address protecting the privacy of medical records,

Participants in workers' compensation systems have a particular interest in this legislation and regulation. The collection and sharing of medical data is important for the efficient operation of workers' compensation systems, for the benefit of the injured worker and for meeting the information requirements of employers and insurers. The challenge is to balance strike an appropriate balance between the protection of an injured worker's confidential health data and the need for adequate information to efficiently administer a claim.

The papers in this book, first presented in March 2000 at the WCRI Annual Issues & Research Conference, look at proposed legislation and regulations regarding the privacy of medical records and weigh the potential impact that new laws could have on workers' compensation systems. The authors represent diverse viewpoints, each offering a unique perspective on the intersection of medical privacy and workers' compensation. 

  • An attorney who advocates for employers describes the federal legislative proposals and their impact on employers.
  • A state insurance commissioner outlines the essential provisions of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Model Act.
  • An attorney from an insurance trade organization describes the key issues for the insurance industry and explains the unique relationships that exist among the injured worker filing for benefits, the policyholder and the insurer.
  • A representative of the AFL-CIO stresses the danger of invading the privacy of an injured worker, which may affect decisions not related to an injured worker's health. 
  • A researcher assesses the potential impact of privacy legislation on scientific, medical and public policy research.

Medical Privacy Legislation: Implications for Workers' Compensation. Ramona P. Tanabe, Editor. October 2000. WC-00-04.


Copyright: WCRI

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