SIIA Cites Workers’ Comp Concerns Related to Health Care Co-Ops

September 10, 2009 --- Congress is now considering creating health care co-ops as part of comprehensive health care reform legislation. SIIA has been invited by Senate Finance Committee staff to provide technical input on specific legislative language to ensure that self-insurance issues have been properly considered.
Earlier today, association lobbyists provided written comments to committee. These comments included discussion that personal health information (PHI) maintained by co-ops must be made available to workers’ compensation payers in connection with legitimate claims review functions and consistent with HIPAA provisions applicable to private health insurance carriers.
SIIA is concerned that unless the legislative language is clear, workers’ compensations self-insurers may face new obstacles in getting access to PHI.
The association first became engaged with the medical records privacy issue on behalf of its workers’ compensation members more than a decade ago when Congress was considering sweeping legislation. At that time, legislative staffers responsible for drafting the legislation had no understanding of the problems that would be created for employer and insurers if individuals could block access to their PHI. 
SIIA was successful in educating members of Congress and ultimately the Department of Health & Human Services in ensuring that HIPAA privacy regulations did not create problems for workers’ compensation payers. We now look forward to once again effectively advocating on behalf of our members.