Medical Records: Relevance

Dewey v. Montana Contractor Compensation Fund [05/16/09] 2009 MTWCC 17 Under § 39-71-604(2), MCA, a signed claim for workers’ compensation or occupational disease benefits authorizes disclosure of information relevant to the claimant’s condition, which may include past history of the complaints or of the treatment of a condition that is similar to that presented in the claim, conditions for which benefits are subsequently claimed, other conditions related to the same body part, or conditions that may affect recovery. In a 2007 claim for benefits relating to carpal tunnel syndrome, the insurer requested and received medical records which included a bout of pneumonia in 1970 and a sore throat in 1974, and forwarded those records to an independent medical examiner for his review. The examiner further found “appropriate” and “important” to include in his report things he learned from these records such as: Petitioner was “born illegitimately”; Petitioner felt suicidal after the death of his grandfather several years before the onset of his alleged occupational disease; and that Petitioner’s father was a drug user. The Court found that Respondent and the examiner misused Petitioner’s medical records in an attempt to malign Petitioner’s character and the Court specifically excluded this information in considering Petitioner’s credibility.