April 2016

2016 Amendments Permit Disclosure for Care Coordination Only Under State Law

One of the more challenging aspects of medical records management are federal and state legalities around release of substance abuse and mental health patient information. This year, the Iowa General Assembly passed legislation, Senate File 2144, to permit disclosure of otherwise confidential behavioral health information under Iowa law for care coordination purposes. SF 2144 was signed by Governor Branstad on April 6 and became effective on that day.


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Even so, employers are best protected in giving statutory notice and medical providers are best protected in assuring that continued care remains authorized.

Notification requirements imposed by Iowa’s workers’ compensation law upon employers authorizing care for an injured employee took center stage in a recent decision of the Iowa Supreme Court. In that case, Ramirez-Trujillo v Quality Egg, L.L.C., et. al. (No. 14-0640, filed April 15, 2016), an employee suffered back injuries from a slip and fall at work. The employer acknowledged the workplace injury and authorized care through a care provider selected by the employer. The employee received treatment for acute low back pain and muscle spasms until the authorized provider released the employee to return to full duty work without restrictions. Weeks later, however, the employee returned to the authorized care provider for additional treatment for acute low back pain and muscle spasms over a period of several months.


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Brick Gentry’s president Paul Drey twice addresses the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) at its Annual Conference in Coralville, Iowa this month.

Protect Yourself: The Basics of Employment Contracts,” illuminates considerations for physician employment agreements. The program synopsis raises important questions:  “The work does not end once you verbally accept a position. But does