Protecting Injured Workers' Mental Health Records
The act clarifies provisions in the "Workers' Compensation Act of Colorado" (workers' compensation act) relating to the release and disclosure of mental health records pertaining to an injured employee making a claim under the workers' compensation act (claimant).
- Defines "mental health records" psychological or psychiatric tests, including neuropsychological testing; other records prepared by or for a mental health provider; independent medical examination records, audio recordings, and reports that address psychological or psychiatric issues; division independent medical evaluation records and reports that address psychological or psychiatric issues; and records relating to the evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment of a substance use or abuse disorder;
- Requires a mental health provider to provide an insurer or employer, if self-insured, with mental health records, as necessary for payment, adjustment, and adjudication of claims involving psychological or psychiatric issues; to the employer, as necessary, to enable to employer to comply with applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations; and to the referring physician and any other relevant treating or evaluating providers;
- Prohibits the disclosure of mental health records to any person who is not reasonably necessary for the medical evaluation, adjustment, or adjudication of claims involving psychological or psychiatric issues, unless otherwise directed by order of the director of the division of workers' compensation (director) or an administrative law judge;
- Permits an insurer to release information from a claimant's mental health records to the claimant's employer concerning work restrictions and information necessary for the adjustment or adjudication of the claim, but prohibits the disclosure of the claimant's actual mental health records to third parties that do not need the information; and
- For a self-insured employer:
- Requires the employer to keep a claimant's mental health records separate from personnel files;
- Limits disclosure of the claimant's mental health records to a supervisor or manager to only information from the mental health records pertaining to work restrictions placed on the claimant; and
- Prohibits disclosure of the claimant's mental health records to any third party and redisclosure by the third party to any person who is not directly involved in adjusting or adjudicating claims involving psychological or psychiatric issues, unless the disclosure is otherwise ordered by the director or an administrative law judge.
The act authorizes the director to promulgate rules necessary for the implementation of the act.
The act requires a person providing mental health services under the workers' compensation act to be a licensed mental health provider.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)