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Information Confidentiality

Information Confidentiality

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Information Confidentiality

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  1. Information Confidentiality for the Massachusetts Workforce Development System II. Q & A

  2. 1 Given the growing concern regarding the confidentiality of personal data and protecting individual’s privacy rights, are staff who have access to personal data under greater scrutiny as to how they use such data? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  3. 1 Yes. Organizations (whether public or private) have a vested interest in assuring that personal information/data to which they have access is used in such a manner as to comply with all confidentiality and privacy statutes and regulations. As publicly funded resources, and by the nature of the types of information/data to which they have access, the organizations that comprise the workforce investment system need to be particularly cognizant of confidentiality/privacy requirements. To maintain public confidence and trust, workforce investment entities must assure that staff are knowledgeable of and carry out their official duties in a manner consistent with all legal requirements relating to access and use of customer information. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  4. 2 Are there plans to provide notification to career center customers and potential career center customers of the policies relating to protecting the confidentiality and privacy of their information, possibly through a website posting? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  5. 2 Are there plans to provide notification to career center customers and potential career center customers of the policies relating to protecting the confidentiality and privacy of their information, possibly through a website posting? DWD, its member organizations (DCS and DUA), and other workforce investment institutions are exploring potential options that will assist customers and potential customers to be informed of the commitment to maintaining the confidentiality of information provided by them. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  6. 3 Should One-Stop Career Centers initiate/implement written information release forms to be signed by customers authorizing use of their information and data for official duties? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  7. 3 Should One-Stop Career Centers initiate/implement written information release forms to be signed by customers authorizing use of their information and data for official duties? A signed release form does not necessarily protect an organization (or a staff member) from sanction should a customer’s information be improperly used or accessed. Generalized release forms that do not fully specify the exact uses for which informa-tion may be accessed or used by an organization’s staff may not pass legal scrutiny in meeting the requirements of a customer’s “informed consent” that may likely be applied in a legal action relating to an alleged breach of information confidentiality and/or privacy. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  8. 4 If a customer signs an information release form, what specific information can be released? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  9. 4 While the release form signed by the customer should fully specify the information elements for which release is authorized, only information that is relevant to the spe-cific service or action being considered at that time by the staff person should be accessed or released. [See previous Q & A.] For instance, if a customer is an ex-offender and that information is recorded in the case management notes in MOSES, if a staff person is looking to access child care services (under supportive services) for the individual while going on job interviews it would not appear that the customer’s status as an ex-offender is rele-vant and should not be divulged . However, if in the course of conducting job development on behalf of the individual it might be relevant to discuss the customer’s status as an ex-offender with a poten-tial employer in light of a specific job requirement that the employee be “bondable” in relation to the availability of the federal Bonding Program. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  10. 5 Is personal information that is already part of a “public record” (such as a customer’s status as a Level III sex offender) subject to the confidentiality and privacy requirements described in this policy? What about in terms of a personal safety issue for the career center staff, themselves? Should the career center staff be made aware of the individual’s status? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  11. 5 Is personal information that is already part of a “public record” (such as a customer’s status as a Level III sex offender) subject to the confidentiality and privacy requirements described in this policy? What about in terms of a personal safety issue for the career center staff, themselves? Should the career center staff be made aware of the individual’s status? To the extent the information is not relevant to carrying out the official duties and responsibilities of the staff person accessing the information, such information is subject to the confidentiality/privacy requirements covered under this policy issuance. Regarding the personal safety issue of career center staff, the situation should be dealt with in accordance with the policies and procedures as implemented under the career center’s Workplace Safety Plan. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  12. 6 Can customer information, such as sensitive personal information discussed as part of the case management process, be kept confidential in MOSES? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  13. 6 Can customer information, such as sensitive personal information discussed as part of the case management process, be kept confidential in MOSES? While MOSES is not configured to automatically keep all customer information confidential, staff should use the “Confidential” button to secure the confidentiality of case management “Notes” where sensitive personal information should be recorded in MOSES. Use of the “Confidential” button restricts access to this infor-mation to the case manager and to supervisory staff with a higher MOSES security level. It should be noted that recording of any customer’s sensitive personal information should be recorded in MOSES only if it is relevant to effectively serving the cus-tomer’s needs. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  14. 7 How far reaching is the Confidentiality Policy? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  15. 7 How far reaching is the Confidentiality Policy? Anyone who, by the nature of his/her position may acquire or have access to confidential information, including access through MOSES must sign the Confidentiality Agreement. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  16. 8 If a “boilerplate” Confidentiality Statement is already included in vendor contracts, will that suffice? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  17. 8 If a “boilerplate” Confidentiality Statement is already included in vendor contracts, will that suffice? All staff of subcontractors who, by virtue of their position may access confidential information in carrying out their official duties under the terms of the contract must sign and submit the Confidentiality Policy form. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  18. 9 Must ITA (Individual Training Account) vendors sign the Confidentiality Policy form? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  19. 9 Must ITA (Individual Training Account) vendors sign the Confidentiality Policy form? Generally, by virtue of a WIA customer having chosen the ITA vendor from the state listing of approved ITA training vendors, it may be inferred that the customer has authorized the sharing of pertinent information. If, however, an ITA approved training vendor has MOSES access, vendor staff who would have access to infor-mation through MOSES must sign the Confidentiality Policyform. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  20. 10 Are One-Stop Career Center partners able to share any confidential infor- mation with each other in the center? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  21. 10 Are One-Stop Career Center partners able to share any confidential infor- mation with each other in the center? The WIA Communication No 05-76 provides the parameters that govern access to and the sharing of information among the various workforce partners and stakeholders that comprise the Massachusetts workforce development system, including One-Stop Career Centers. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  22. 11 Should there be two distinct and separate policies – one for One-Stop Career Center employees and another for contractors, other partners and vendors? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  23. 11 Should there be two distinct and separate policies – one for One-Stop Career Center employees and another for contractors, other partners and vendors? No. While all forms of data/information described in the Confidentiality Policy may not apply to everyone, the characteristics of the data/information do not change depending upon who has possession it. The data/information remains confidential and, therefore, a single, uniform policy regarding accessing this data/information is appropriate. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  24. 12 Title I is not mentioned in this policy; thus there is no mention of WIA income/eligibility information. Is that confidential? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  25. 12 Title I is not mentioned in this policy; thus there is no mention of WIA income/eligibility information. Is that confidential? WIA income/eligibility information linked to a particular person would be considered confidential under G.L.c.66A (State Privacy Act). Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  26. 13 If WIA vendors collect eligibility information on behalf of customers (including income information and UI status, if necessary) are they allowed to give it to the One-Stop Career Center/WIB/other? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  27. 13 If WIA vendors collect eligibility information on behalf of customers (including income information and UI status, if necessary) are they allowed to give it to the One-Stop Career Center/WIB/other? This question is outside the scope of this Confidentiality Policy. What vendors may disseminate would depend upon the contract between the vendor and the contracting entity. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  28. 14 What is the definition of “non-workforce development entities”? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  29. 14 What is the definition of “non-workforce development entities”? A “non-workforce development entity” is an entity that is not part of the Massa-chusetts workforce development system. Examples may include, but are not limited to marketing companies, fraternal veterans’ organizations, proprietary training schools. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  30. 15 Hypothetically, if a career center staff person is working with an ex-offender (who happens to be a convicted murderer, rapist or otherwise dangerous person) and under some circumstances, such as through a CORI check or other legal avenue, this background is discovered or comes to light, are we allowed and/or obligated to share this information with staff? Or, by law, are we forbidden to share this information with staff. What about our obligation to employers? Also, is there a difference in “handling” this information if the person self-certifies to the information? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  31. 15 Access to information regarding the specific nature of an individual’s criminal his-tory acquired as a result of a CORI check is specifically limited to individuals who have an approved “Individual Agreement of Non-Disclosure” form on file with the Massachusetts Criminal History Board. However, should the specific nature of an individual’s offense become known through either the results of a CORI check performed by staff of a career center(or other local workforce development organization covered by WIA Commun-ication No. 05-76) or through other, legal means such information is to be consid-ered “personal” information subject to the same confidentiality protections/limit-ations as other “personal” information or data and said information should onlybe accessed or conveyed by a staff person if necessary to carry out his/her pro-fessional duties and responsibilities. (Answer continues on next slide.) Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  32. 15 (Continued) Staff should take caution to convey only the level of information (such as to a poten-tial employer) that is minimally required to perform and complete their duties in a professional manner. Regarding the personal safety issue of career center staff, the situation should bedealt with in accordance to the policies and procedures as implemented under the career center’s Workplace Safety Plan. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  33. 16 This policy communication appears to establish distinct silos in which One-Stop Career Center partners do not and will not have access to information. Please clarify. ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  34. 16 This policy communication appears to establish distinct silos in which One-Stop Career Center partners do not and will not have access to information. Please clarify. WIA Communication No 05-76 provides the parameters that govern access to and the sharing of information among the various workforce partners and stake-holders that comprise the Massachusetts workforce development system, including One-Stop Career Centers. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  35. 17 Must One-Stop Career Center employees use only a private setting todiscuss a customer’s personal information? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  36. 17 Must One-Stop Career Center employees use only a private setting todiscuss a customer’s personal information? Yes. Whenever possible One-Stop Career Center employees should use a private setting to discuss a customer’s personal information. An office type setting is best, but if only cubicle type settings are available to con-duct business, employee cubicles should be located far enough away from public areas of the OSCC so that conversations may not be overheard by visitors or cus-tomers. In centers where space does not permit a sufficient separation of employee areas from public areas, offices or conference rooms should be used when circumstances require or a customer so requests. (Answer continues on next slide.) Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  37. 17 (Continued) One-Stop Career Center operators (as well as any other Massachusetts workforce development entity) must take all reasonable care to assure the confidentiality of customer information consistent with statutory requirements. The policy assumes that reasonable care is being taken to protect the confidenti-ality of the information and to ensure that confidential information is not discussed or conveyed in an inappropriate setting or manner. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  38. 18 My staff are already covered under the MOSES Confidentiality Agreement, why must they also sign the Confidentiality Policy form? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  39. 18 My staff are already covered under the MOSES Confidentiality Agreement, why must they also sign the Confidentiality Policy form? MOSES is only one data source of confidential information. This policy is broader and intends to raise awareness concerning proper information practices and proced-ures designed to ensure customer confidentiality with paper records, telephone con-versations, meetings, etc. To assure that individuals, who by the nature of their position and functional responsibilities have read, understand and agree to comply with the policy it is necessary to initially obtain, and maintain on file, a hard copy of the individual’s signature. The MOSES Confidentiality Agreement does not provide for acquisition of an original signature. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  40. 19 Under the policy, why is the DCS Field Manager in charge of getting employ- ees on and off the list? It makes more sense that this should be centralized at the local One-Stop Career Center or other city entity. This way it would elim-inate an extra step and prevent employees from possibly being incorrectly added or deleted from the list. The list should be managed by someone on-site. If kept locally then policiesand procedures would be written and internal reports compiled to ensure that the data access and the use privileges of employees and contractors are re-viewed annually by the local One-Stop Career Center staff. ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  41. 19 While the policy places overall responsibility for the identification of staff whomust sign the Confidentiality Policy form and the collection/maintenance of Con-fidentiality Policy form signatures on the local DCS Field Manager, nothing in the policy prohibits local areas from assigning or delegating specific procedural tasks to other local staff under the overall oversight and responsibility of the Field Managerto see that those tasks are carried out and that the overall policy is followed. The local workforce partners are encouraged to work together under the leadership and guidance of the Field Manager to implement procedures that most effectively meet the needs of the local area in complying with the requirements of the policy. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  42. 20 Local Workforce Boards have access to MOSES data and would need tobe under the same policies as other partners. Under the UI data it is imper-missible to provide claim information to the LWIBs. ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  43. 20 Local Workforce Boards have access to MOSES data and would need tobe under the same policies as other partners. Under the UI data it is imper-missible to provide claim information to the LWIBs. Employees may access UI information identifying a single individual or business only in connection with the performance of their official duties. As a volunteer Board charged with the planning and oversight responsibility of the One-Stop Career Center system in their areas, the LWIBs do not require ident-ifying UI information as part of their official responsibilities. LWIBs may still be furnished with summary UI Information unless a specific aggregated data element or elements are sufficient to identify a specific individualor business entity. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  44. 21 With regard to wage record data, is it the DCS One-Stop Career Center staff or the state level DCS staff that would provide the cross-matching ofUI claimants' information against wage records to detect claimants whoare working and collecting UI benefits at the same time? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  45. 21 With regard to wage record data, is it the DCS One-Stop Career Center staff or the state level DCS staff that would provide the cross-matching ofUI claimants' information against wage records to detect claimants whoare working and collecting UI benefits at the same time? The cross-matching of UI claimant information against wage records to detect claimants working and collecting is a DUA function. DCS employees are not involved. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  46. 22 If we have specific questions about confidentiality that we may need answered in a timely manner, who do we call? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  47. 22 If we have specific questions about confidentiality that we may need answered in a timely manner, who do we call? Specific questions regarding information confidentiality and security may be submitted to PolicyQA@detma.org. A timely response will be provided. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  48. 23 What if a staff person of a partner organization does not want to sign (the language about imprisonment and fines might scare some away)? ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  49. 23 What if a staff person of a partner organization does not want to sign (the language about imprisonment and fines might scare some away)? Failure to sign the Confidentiality Policy form does not exempt a staff person from the statutory provisions. The purpose of the Policy is to provide basic information about the statutes that pertain to release and access of information and data and to provide a number of examples to illustrate permissible and impermissible uses. Signing the form acknowledges receipt and understanding of the Policy and agreement to abide by its provisions. A staff person who is a registered MOSES user jeopardizes his/her MOSES access if a signed Confidentiality Policy is not submitted. Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005

  50. 24 I have some concerns that specific UI information needed to assist a career advisor in evaluating the ability of a customer to sustain him or herself during training may not be requested in planning individual services. ? Department of Workforce Development Training Office, 2005