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What medical questions can I legally ask?

Good afternoon, Steve!  THANK YOU so much for taking the time to send a response to my earlier questions I have “another” quick question for you…  I know I am probably close to my limit of questions for you, but I promise it’s an easy one. I have been utilizing the New Employee Orientation Checklist in my SFS Operations Manual and was wanting to find out more about the Medical History Documentation. What does this all include and how do I go about asking with the HIPAA laws?  I am in the process of having all of our field water mitigation employees provide documentation on their Hepatitis B and Tetanus Shots, but I was thinking it would be nice to cover this in the orientation process for new employees from here on out.  I know I am way behind when it comes to HR issues and am working hard to get caught up. Sorry for the lengthy e-mail, but thank you for all of your help!!!  I hope you are staying healthy and the family is doing good too! Have a great afternoon!

Catching Up in Texas

You will never be “near your limit” with me, Catching Up! We appreciate your focus AND remember that Jon-Don’s Papa Nick pays Big Billy Yeadon and yours truly to help our SFS members for free! Now re: your question on medical stuff and HIPAA I asked both Chuck Violand and also my daughter Megan who as a CMA just finished up a course on HIPAA. Here is what Megan had to say:

“When recruiting new employees if  a Hep B and/or tetanus vaccine will be required it would be good to be up front about it BEFORE in the interview(s). This was done for me in my hiring process. In requesting a record of it the person involved can give you that info yet you can’t go to their Doctor’s office and request the info without a signed release. So Dad, are you at least going to buy me lunch for this ‘free consulting’?” – Meg

And then Chuck adroitly “delegated” his response to his HR expert Scott Tackett:

“I certainly agree with Megan’s advice and would like to add a bit more. You can secure any required medical information with a “Written Release of Confidential Medical Information” provided your release naturally is signed  by the individual and yourself as the Company representative, and this release  is very specific about what information you are requesting and what it is being used for. The examples you gave are important because of the fact that you must have these tests done based OSHA requirements As important there are certain policies/securities that you should have in place at your workplace:

1) Any and all medically related information should be kept in a separate employee file. NOT with your typical employee personal file

2) These files must be kept secure and locked with very limited access. (Basically only yourself.)

3) Confidentiality is a must… you should not discuss any medically related information with anyone, unless there is a very specific “need to know”

4) Proper training should be conducted with all your employees at least on an annual basis to reinforce the importance of privacy and confidentiality and this training should be documented with all parties signing and dating that they received it.” – Scott

Thanks, Scott and Megan! And to Catching Up, let us know how it is going down there in Texas!  You’ll notice I delegated all the heavy lifting off very nicely on this one to Scott and Meg! So Chuck, you need to buy Scott lunch and I’ll pick it up for Meg!

Steve

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