23:1127  Release of medical records and information


A. It is the policy for the efficient administration of the workers' compensation system that there be reasonable access to medical information for all parties to coordinate and manage the care for the injured worker and to facilitate his return to work.


B. (1) In any claim for compensation, a health care provider who has at any time treated the employee related to the compensation claim shall release any requested medical information and records relative to the employee's injury, to any of the following persons:


(a) The employee, his agent, or his representative.


(b) A licensed and approved vocational rehabilitation counselor assigned to the employee's claim.


(c) Another health care provider examining the employee.


(d) The employer, his agent, or his representative.


(e) The employer's workers' compensation insurer or its agent or representative.


(2) Any information relative to any other treatment or condition shall be available to the employer or his workers' compensation insurer by subpoena or through a written release by the claimant.


C. (1) Consistent with the policy of reasonable access to medical information for all parties and notwithstanding the provisions of Article 510 of the Louisiana Code of Evidence or any other law to the contrary, a health care provider, without the necessity of a subpoena or other discovery device, shall verbally discuss medical information regarding the injured employee with another health care provider examining the employee, a case manager, or a vocational rehabilitation counselor assigned to provide rehabilitation for that injured worker.  No health care provider or his employee or agent shall be held civilly or criminally liable for disclosure of the medical information conveyed pursuant to this Section.  This Paragraph shall not apply to examinations conducted by medical examiners appointed by the director pursuant to R.S. 23:1123.


(2) In any verbal communication or personal conference between the vocational rehabilitation counselor and any health care provider, for the purpose of providing rehabilitation services, the employee or his agent or representative shall cooperate in scheduling a reasonable date and time for such communication or conference and the employee or his agent or representative shall be given fifteen days notice of any such communication or conference, and shall be given the opportunity to attend or participate in the communication or conference.  Irrespective of the number of persons attending the conference, the health care provider shall only charge a reasonable single fee.


(3) In addition to any other duty or responsibility provided by law, a case manager or vocational rehabilitation counselor who is a party to a verbal communication with the health care provider regarding an employee, as authorized by Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, shall, within five working days of the communication, mail a written summary of the communication and any work restrictions or modifications required for the employee's reasonable return to employment to the employee, his representative, and the health care provider.  The summary shall be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the employee or his representative, or by electronic mail if the employee or his representative consents in writing to such method of transmission.  It shall include a narration of any diagnosis or opinion given or discussed, any conclusions reached concerning the vocational rehabilitation plan, any return to work opportunities discussed consistent with the vocational rehabilitation plan, and the medical evaluation of the health care provider.


(4) Any medical information released in writing shall be furnished to the employee at no cost to him simultaneously with it being furnished to the employer, its insurer, agent, or representative.  Any such records or information furnished to the employer or insurer or any other party pursuant to this Section shall be held confidential by them and the employer or insurer or any other party shall be liable to the employee for any actual damages sustained by him as a result of a breach of this confidence up to a maximum of one thousand dollars, plus all reasonable attorney fees necessary to recover such damages.  An exception to this breach of confidentiality shall be any introduction or use of such information in a court of law, or before the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration or the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Second Injury Board.


D. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to authorize any case manager, vocational rehabilitation counselor assigned to provide rehabilitation services for the injured employee, or agent of the employer who is not treating the injured employee for his injuries to attend the injured employee's medical examinations.


Added by Acts 1987, No. 494, § 1.  Amended by Acts 1999, No. 1346, § 1;  Acts 2003, No. 1201, § 1;  Acts 2004, No. 341, § 1, eff. June 18, 2004;  Acts 2012, No. 76, § 1.