management of employee health records n.
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  2. Course Goals | Segments • Background of Employee Health Records. • Key Definitions. • Federal and State Regulatory Influences (ADA, FMLA, OSHA, Workers’ Compensation, Wisconsin Employment Regulations). • Management of Employee Health Records. • Disclosure of Employee Health Record Information/Copies. • Retention and Disposal of Employee Health Records.

  3. EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORDS Employee health records are created and maintained for the following reasons: • To accomplish the mission/goals of the employee health department/function through: • Promoting employee health and wellness • Preventing illness and injuries

  4. EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORDS • Reducing the spread of communicable diseases • Creating a safe working environment • Increasing operating efficiencies through reduced absenteeism • To comply with federal and state regulations. • To protect the organization in litigation.

  5. EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORDS • The organization must manage the employee health records to ensure systematic control from creation or receipt through processing, distribution, maintenance, retrieval, retention, and final disposition.

  6. INTERSECTING ROLES • Employer • Healthcare Provider • Health Plan

  7. HIPAA • The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act excludes employment records maintained by a healthcare organization in its capacity as an employer from the definition of protected health information. • The HIPAA Privacy Rule standards do not apply to employee health records.

  8. HIPAA – HOWEVER…….. • Many Employees Perceive That HIPAA Protections Apply to Their Employee Health Information. • HIPAA Standards Have Become “Industry-Standards” for Safeguarding the Privacy and Security of Health Information. • Site Link

  9. EXAMPLES • Minimum Necessary Access • Authentication for Access to Electronic Health Information/PHI • Physical Security and Access Controls • Administrative Safeguards

  10. FOR CONSIDERATION • Value of Information Collected • Personal Identifying Information – Threat of Identity Theft • Sequestering “Legal” Records

  11. FOR CONSIDERATION • The role of the employee health staff person is often a dual role with other assigned functions. • Employee health nurse/infection control nurse • Aware of what role he/she is in when accessing employee health or patient health record information and limit access accordingly

  12. EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORD DEFINITION • Any health-related information created, obtained, or maintained by the organization regarding an employee’s physical or mental condition, including, but not limited to: • Results of medical exams and tests • Employee health documents regarding medical certifications, re-certifications, or medical histories.

  13. EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORD DEFINITION – Continued • Opinions or other recommendations of a healthcare provider concerning the health of an employee or employees performed by or received by employee health. • Documentation related to participation in employee-health sponsored wellness programs.

  14. EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORD DEFINITION – Continued • Employee medical complaints relating to workplace exposure or injury. • Employee health department health related opinions or recommendations sought out by employees • Other records maintained by employee health, such as ADA, FMLA, OSHA, and workers compensation.

  15. PATIENT HEALTH RECORD • Records related to the health of a patient prepared by or under the supervision of a health care provider and subject to the standards set forth in HIPAA.

  16. FEDERAL REGULATORY INFLUENCES • American with Disabilities Act (ADA) – 29 CFR §§ 1630.14(d) & 1630.16(f) • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910 • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 29 CFR § 825

  17. AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) • The American with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.

  18. DISCLOSURES UNDER ADA The employer may disclose the information collected from ADA medical examinations and inquiries to: • Management responsible for ensuring necessary work restrictions and accommodations; • First aid and safety personnel who may need to respond if an employee’s disability requires emergency treatment; • Government officials investigating employer compliance with the ADA;

  19. DISCLOSURES UNDER ADA The employer may disclose the information collected from ADA medical examinations and inquiries to: • Those requesting the information in accordance with state worker’s compensation laws; and • Those requesting the information for insurance-related purposes.

  20. OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT (OSHA) • Requires employers to provide and report employee medical surveillance and to monitor and report employee workplace injuries. • States that employees must be informed of their access rights to their medical and exposure records.

  21. OSHA AND RECORDS • OSHA defines a record as "any item, collection or grouping of information regardless of the form or process by which it is maintained." • The standard further differentiates between exposure records and medical records.

  22. OSHA – MEDICAL RECORDS • Medical Record: The standard defines an employee medical record as "a record concerning the health status of an employee which is made or maintained by a physician, nurse or other health care personnel, or technician."

  23. OSHA MEDICAL RECORDS INCLUDE • Medical and employment questionnaires or histories. • The results of medical examinations and laboratory tests (including chest and other X-ray examinations taken for the purpose of establishing a baseline).

  24. OSHA MEDICAL RECORDS INCLUDE - CONTINUED • Medical opinions, diagnoses, progress notes, and recommendations. • First aid records. • Descriptions of treatments and prescriptions. • Employee medical complaints.

  25. OSHA MEDICAL RECORDS DO NOT INCLUDE • Physical specimens (e.g., blood or urine samples) which are routinely discarded. • Records concerning health insurance claims if maintained separately from the employer's medical program and its records. • Records created solely in preparation for litigation. • Records concerning voluntary employee assistance programs (EAP) if maintained separately from the employer's medical program and its records.

  26. OSHA – EMPLOYEE EXPOSURE RECORDS • The Standard Defines an Employee Exposure Record as a Record Containing the Following Information: • Environmental Monitoring of Toxic or Harmful Substances • Biological Monitoring results • Material Data Safety Sheets

  27. FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA) • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that all covered employers provide their eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: • Employee has a serious medical condition • the birth or adoption of a child • Provide care to an immediate family member with a serious health condition

  28. FMLA CONSIDERATIONS • Requires Provider to Verify a “Serious Health Condition” • Does Not State That Specific Diagnostic and/or Treatment Information Need be Provided

  29. STATE REGULATORY INFLUENCES • Check for the State Regulations pertaining to Medical Records for the States which have jurisdiction over your operations.

  30. WORKER’S COMPENSATION • Allows worker’s compensation insurers, state administrative agencies, and employers to obtain health information to the extent authorized under the state worker’s compensation law.

  31. MANAGEMENT OF EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORDS • Maintenance • Organizational Access and Use • Employee Access

  32. MAINTENANCE • Employee health records shall be maintained separately by the healthcare organization in its capacity as an employer. • Employee health records and patient health records shall be maintained in separate files, storage areas or systems. • Treat as “confidential” with access restricted to authorized workforce members.

  33. RECORD “CROSSOVER” • Dual Use of Employee/Patient Health Records: The organization must recognize the potential that under certain circumstances employee patient health record documents may “cross over” and become part of the organization’s employee health record.

  34. RECORDS THAT MAY CROSSOVER WHEN • Authorized in writing by the employee/patient from a healthcare provider. • Integral to the processing of a Workers’ Compensation claim. • Part of a short or long-term disability claim.

  35. RECORDS THAT MAY CROSSOVER WHEN • Required for Pre-employment or post-offer physical examination. • Part of the Employment-related drug testing program. • Necessary to process ADA disability accommodations Supplemental to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests.

  36. ORIGINALS OF RECORD DOCUMENTS • The record document that is “original” to the employee health record or the provider health record must remain in the respective record.

  37. ACCESS TO EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORDS • Restrict to “Need to Know” • Minimum Necessary Access • Question Requests for More • Know When it is Appropriate to Disclose to Management, Others

  38. OTHER MAINTENANCE ISSUES • Post-Offer Physicals, Drug Testing, and Fitness for Duty Examinations • Release for Duty/Return to Work Forms • Organizational Use of Employee Heath Information

  39. DISCLOSURE OF EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORDS • Employee health records may be disclosed, without employee authorization, in the following circumstances: • Governmental officials investigating employer compliance • State agency processing a Worker’s Compensation claim • Other authorized governmental agency in compliance with applicable law. • Organization’s legal counsel to be used for defense for or against an employee’s discrimination claim.

  40. WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION RECOMMENDED • For disclosures which do not fall into the categories noted previously, a written authorization is recommended. • Content of Authorization – Consider “patient-type” format.

  41. RETENTION OF EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORDS • Several laws and regulations provide guidance on the retention schedule for employee health records. • OSHA has the most restrictive guidance, which has become the unofficial standard for employee health record retention.

  42. RETENTION REGULATIONS • Employee Exposure Records (referenced in OSHA) • 30 Years • 29 CFR 1910.1020(d)(1)- AHIMA • 29 CFR 1915.1020 – AHIMA • 29 CFR 1926.33 - AHIMA

  43. RETENTION REGULATIONS • Employee Health Records • Term of Employment + 30 Years • 29 CFR 1910.1020(d)(1) – AHIMA • 29 CFR 1915.1020 – AHIMA • 29 CFR 1926.33 - AHIMA

  44. DISPOSAL OF EMPLOYEE HEALTH RECORDS • HIPAA Security Rule as a Standard? • Paper Records • Electronic Records • File Cabinets, Desks, Etc.


  46. QUESTION 1 • Why is it important for an organization to establish guidelines for the management of employee health records?

  47. QUESTION 2 • Is there a need to distinguish who is the actual “custodian” of the employee health recordkeeping system?

  48. QUESTION 3 • Is a written authorization for disclosure required prior to disclosing patient protected health information (PHI) on employees for diagnostic study results ordered by the organization’s employee health department?

  49. QUESTION 4 • Is there a need for a healthcare organization to address employee health in its designated record set?

  50. QUESTION 5 • Can an organization truly “separate” employee health records from patient health records/PHI in an electronic recordkeeping system? If not, how should this be addressed?