failure to release medical records for fitness for duty exam
Apr 5, 2004
i work for the usps, and have been scheduled for a fitness for duty exam. they asked me to sign a medical records release form and i refused. since then, they have postponed the fitness for duty exam. can they terminate me for not releasing my medical records for a fitness for duty exam?
Response from Ms. Breuer
Access to all your medical records seems like an extreme request for a fitness for duty exam. Rather than risking termination, you could talk with your union representative or your supervisor (or your supervisor's supervisor) about why this particular mosquito is being attacked with a steamshovel rather than a flyswatter, and ask about what they really need. Offer to have your doc complete a health questionnaire with questions that directly pertain to your fitness for duty, but explain that under the privacy provisions of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) that went into effect last April, they seem to be risking a hefty fine by asking for a medical records release signature.
I strongly recommend being confused rather than being angry. Turn the supervisors/union reps into allies, not enemies, by asking if they're okay with handing over all their medical records to their employer. Then stand there, look puzzled, and seek to make this a problem that THEY have to solve, not one that YOU have to solve. Your instincts are good: they're asking for much more than they really need.
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