What is HIPAA and how does it affect my employment? Dallas employment lawyer
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA’s most important aspect for consumers and employees is its privacy protection. HIPAA protects your medical records and other personal data from unauthorized disclosure by covered entities. Although employers may not count as covered entities the rules applying to covered entities affects them.
The health information covered by HIPAA includes information that relates to you specifically and protects you from unauthorized disclosure whether it is in electronic, paper or oral format. It protects: health care claims; documentation of doctor visits and notes by doctors and their staff; health care payments; coordination of health care benefits; claim status; enrollment and unenrollment in health plans; eligibility for health plans; premium payments; referrals; reports of injury and claim records.
HIPAA and your Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas employment
HIPAA typically recognizes health care providers, insurance providers and health care information clearinghouses as covered entities. Employers are typically not covered entities unless they happen to fall into the HIPAA definition of a covered entity and possess personal health information for their employees beyond standard employment information. The Texas state law that mirrors HIPAA specifically excludes employers as covered entities except when using the protected medical information for marketing purposes.
Employers may nevertheless come in contact with this information. If your employer offers health insurance or other medical plans they will be aware of at least some protected information, such as premium payments, eligibility, enrollment and similar information. Additionally, if you file a worker’s compensation claim your employer will most likely obtain medical records to review your claim. Employers can also require documentation from a physician for some FMLA leaves or ADA accommodations. Additional laws and regulations may require or permit employer access to some records.
Employment lawyers in Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas
Your employer cannot use protected medical information against you when it violates other state or federal laws. There are various anti-discrimination, insurance and labor laws that protect your medical conditions from use as the basis for adverse action in the workplace. If you believe your employer is violating your rights, contact an attorney immediately to discuss your situation. Employment law attorneys represent clients in employment law cases ranging from employment discrimination to FMLA to overtime pay. In any of these cases your medical information may become part of the lawsuit. It is important to protect this information.