“Do Nurse Case Managers Have the Right to Talk To My Doctors?

by Karl Voigt

Karl just answered this Pennsylvania workers’ compensation question on Avvo.com:

“Gentlemen I know has been going to MHR 10 months now. He has an ICM case worker who wants him to sign papers that its ok for her to talk to his doctors. He’s very smart at somethings. Should he sign these papers when she is not even a family member or wife, girlfriend just a case worker?”

Not unless you give them permission, either express or implied. Which is why you should never sign anything for the benefit of a nurse case manager.

My almost wholesale experience — with only a few exceptions — with nurses hired by the insurance company is that they interfere and try to regulate injured workers’ medical care. It’s not unusual to hear stories of nurse case managers attempting to bully a treating physician into releasing a claimant back to work when it’s far too early. Or, even worse, trying to interfere with their medication formula.

While a nurse case manager may attempt to appear to be your friend, this is simply not the case. The nurse’s paycheck comes from the insurance company and the insurance company sets the agenda. Further, the nurse has no ethical duty to act in an injured worker’s best interest.

When a client comes to my office and the nurse case manager is involved, often one of my first steps is to write a letter to the nurse, with carbon copies to my client’s treating physicians, that revokes and rescinds any express or implied release of medical information. I encourage the same in this case. Good luck!

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