Those of you involved in workers’ compensation claim administration know how frustrating it is to obtain medical records. More and more providers are refusing to release records without a form specific to their facility, even with a signed Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation release. A new Ohio Administrative Code Section has finally addressed that issue, and created a standard form that all providers in Ohio must honor.
Effective February 3, 2019, all Ohio providers must honor a standard authorization form, a copy of which can be found here. Pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code Section 5160-1-32.1 (see the link here)the medical authorization “shall be accepted by any person or governmental entity in this state as a valid authorization for the use or disclosure of …. protected health information to the persons or governmental entities specified in the form.”
The rule was developed by the Ohio Department of Medicaid, and was promulgated under Ohio Revised Code sections dealing with the Medicaid program. However, the language of the new administrative rule does not indicate that it is specific to Medicaid related issues. Furthermore, the requirement to honor the release applies to “any person or governmental entity” who is authorized by the individual signing the form to receive a copy of the individual’s protected health information. I spoke with the Ohio Department of Medicaid regarding their interpretation of the scope of new administrative rule. The Department of Medicaid confirmed that the new form is not limited to Medicaid related requests, and that a properly executed form must be accepted by any receiving provider.
It remains to be seen whether the Industrial Commission will issue subpoenas to providers who do not recognize the new standard release, or whether hearing administrators will suspend claims if injured workers refuse to sign the new standard release form.
If you have any questions about how this new rule might affect your organization, or comments about how the Industrial Commission should deal with the new release in the future please e-mail me.