A section of the Utah Code requiring employers or medical providers to give injured employees copies of medical records isn't being enforced by the State Industrial Commission, according to an attorney who represents clients in workers compensation cases before the commission.
Virginius Dabney wrote a letter to Commission Chairman Stephen M. Hadley, saying that sections 97 and 98 of the Workers Compensation Code require written reports by employers and medical providers with copies given to injured workers. Failure to do so, Dabney said, is a misdemeanor that subjects the guilty party to a $500 fine.However, Dabney said that in his 10 years of practicing before the commission, none of his clients has had any medical records voluntarily given to him. He wants to discuss the issue with the commission at a future meeting.
Dabney also believes that commission rules relating to an insurance carrier privilege to examine an injured worker, changes of doctors and hospitals and identification of who may attend industrial patients violates a person's rights to select his own medical treatment.
"It also unnecessarily involves industrial commission involvement in the selection of medical treatment when there is no dispute, and does so in many cases in such a way as to affect the physician/patient relationship," Dabney wrote. He believes all three rules should be eliminated.
He also is questioning the wording of Section 87, which grants to the commission full authority to regulate and fix attorney fees because the only attention in the past has been the fees of attorneys representing injured workers.
Dabney wants the commission to broaden its authority by regulating the fees for attorneys representing employers on both an insured and self-insured basis. "It is my personal view that, on occasion, defense lawyers' fees greatly exceed the need for legal services provided, the end result of which is unnecessary and complicated litigation and delay in reaching a final result," he said.