In my reading of it, the interpretive letter is not about the “separate from personnel records” part as much as it is about “confidential, not disclosed without written permission of employee.” I don’t think it was about HIV stigma in particular.
The question specifically put to them outlined the separate nature of the medical record as distinct from personnel records, the need for a secure log in, and the punishment associated with unauthorized viewing of a coworker’s record. Their response was that those protections only kick in AFTER you catch someone looking at the record – but by then they’ve seen it. So employees may not report if they know coworkers technically have the ability to see their labs. They insisted on a system that actually will not allow unauthorized people to see the record.
I have not seen any more recent interpretations.
Here’s how I see it: if I work in the lab and I am exposed, I can choose to report it or not report it. We know underreporting is a big problem. If I know that my coworkers in the lab are going to see my result come through their system and say “Hey, that’s Melanie! Oh, she had virology testing done. Wonder what that was about” then I may be less inclined to report, than if I know my results cannot be seen by them.
Melanie Swift, MD
Director, Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic
The section under medical records below only states that they must be kept confidential and separate from other personnel records. I still have difficulty understanding how that means we have to code the HIV testing because it is only kept in systems that ARE confidential and separate from personnel records (HR has no access to this). Since the CDC recommends HIV testing on everyone between 16 and 64 yo, it appears that the previous stigma attached to testing has been mitigated. Does OSHA have any relevant interpretation that is more recent than 12 years ago? What am I missing here?
Susan Fair, MPAS, PA-C
Yale New Haven Hospital
Occupational Health Plus
New Haven, CT
Look at the blood borne pathogen exposure regulation. I use the hospital etool…. It helps you find specifics faster.
Hope you find this helpful…. Very quick resource once you click on the hazard that you want.
Kathy Dayvault, RN, BSN, MPH, COHN-S/CM
Independent OHN Consultant
Can anyone direct me where I can find the OSHA regulation pertaining to the Duty to ensure privacy of employees exposed to blood and body fluid. I know some facility use psuedo names in order to protect their employees privacy when the test are done in their facility. I want to do this, however our lab is not agreeable as they are not sure how to register the employee and keep everything straight. The lab informed me that they checked the state regulations (we are in PA) and there is nothing that says we must give psuedo names. Therefore , I am looking for any information that would assist my mission to provide privacy to our employees. I thought there was an OSHA regulation if the test was done within the facility such as the rapid HIV suds test that we could not use their name. Can anyone direct me on this?
Cathy Senior RN BSN CDE
Employee Health Director
Penn Highlands DuBois
100 Hospital Avenue
P.O. Box 447
DuBois Pa 15801
This message originates from the Yale New Haven Health System. The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential. If you are the intended recipient you must maintain this message in a secure and confidential manner. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately and destroy this message. Thank you.