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Consent for Release of Medical Information
May 7, 1997

Our company was just sold, and the new company is requiring all existing employees to sign the following release document: "I hereby agree that the *NEW COMPANY*, or any insurance company, agent, bureau, service or party acting in its behalf has my authority to obtain copies of records regarding my medical condition, treatment, and any related matter in respect of any matter on file with any attending physician, or other health care provider regarding care for a work related injury occurring during my employment with the *NEW COMPANY*. Upon presentation of the original or a photocopy hereof, any third party shall be entitled to rely upon same for all purposes and deliver to the *NEW COMPANY*, or its designee, all information in its files in respect of my medical records of the undersigned." My question: isn't this unlawful to ask someone to sign such a statement? Aren't medical records supposed to be kept confidential from an employer so as to protect employees from discrimination, specifically if an existing employee has HIV/AIDS or some other chronic medical condition? I'm not signing until I hear your advice! Thanks for your help.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

It is legal to ask an employee to sign such a statement. The key here is "work-related injury." The Company is not asking for a full release of all medical records but only those medical records relative to a work-related injury occurring during your employment with the Company. If it is a work-related injury, the Company is obligated to pay medical claims relative to that injury and has a right to verify that the injury is legitimate and the claims are in fact related to that injury. Such a release is typical with respect to a work-related injury. Many companies ask for the release at the time of injury; others request it upon employment.

- Lynn Franzoi

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