The Georgia Court of Appeals has, fairly recently, decided that injured workers cannot be forced to sign away medical privacy rights–specifically, the right to refuse consent for the opposing attorney to meet alone with the treating doctor and tell him/her God knows what–in order to continue getting workers’ compensation disability benefits. A brief summary of the McRae v. Arby’sdecision can be found here.
In McRae, the insurer’s attorney wanted to speak alone with the injured worker’s doctor; the doctor refused the request, so the insurer’s attorney tried to compel the injured worker to allow such a meeting. While the trial judge agreed with the insurance company’s attorney, the Court of Appeals did not.
Currently, there are discussions regarding how this ruling’s reach can be altered or expanded upon via legislation, so there may be additional reach to this ruling in the coming months, as Georgia’s state legislature begins its session. In the meantime, be careful to read any forms given you after your workers’ compensation injury from the insurance adjuster. While a WC-207 release may be required, any additional forms or language requiring agreeing to the scenario explained above is not required.
Finally, if your medical information and/or health privacy has been violated, you can report and fight such violations by using the steps outlined in this previous blog entry. Contact my Atlanta workers compensation law firm.