worker's comp and needlestick exposure
May 9, 2012
I am a dentist that had a needlestick exposure at work. I, along with the source patient, went to get blood drawn to rule out hep C and HIV on the source patient and to get a baseline on myself. I later found out my worker's comp wouldn't cover the bloodwork for the source patient even though this is standard procedure to determine what the course of action would be for myself if the patient was positive for HIV or Hep C. Is worker's comp mandated to cover this or am I out of luck?
Response from Mr. Chambers
Workers' Compensation (W/C) laws are legislated by the states, so there is no uniform rule countrywide. You should contact a W/C attorney in your state to see how it is handled in your state.
It seems strange that the insurance carrier would refuse to pay for testing the patient. While W/C is specifically to protect workers from on-the-job injuries and to compensate them for injury related losses, unless you and carrier know the test results of the patient, there is no way to measure the damages you incurred due to the needlestick.
It is important that both you and the patient be tested ASAP to make sure anything that was transmitted to you came directly from the patient. Both should do that now, and argue with the carrier over payment later.
Depending on how your state handles needlesticks under W/C, you may need to engage an attorney anyway.
Good luck, Jacques
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