December 18, 2008
Melamedia Audio Seminar Examines Effects Of New Family Medical Leave Act Regulation On Sharing Patient and Employee Health Information
New Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rules from the Department of Labor put healthcare providers in more complicated positions in determining what information they may or may not share with employers when employees seek leave due to serious health conditions.
The Nov. 17 regulation fails to provide extensive detail on how the FMLA interacts with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state workers compensation laws and state and federal substance abuse regulations – all of which have their own patient confidentiality requirements.
As a result, healthcare providers will be at the center of attention and at the intersection of a variety of laws with different mandates for protecting patient information.
The FMLA regulations give healthcare providers more discretion in sharing information with employers to substantiate their medical opinions. However, healthcare providers still face new challenges in navigating the interplay of rules they must comply with because the FMLA overlaps with the ADA, state workers compensation laws, and federal and state substance abuse regulations as well as HIPAA.
Under the FMLA, employees must first give their healthcare providers permission to share information with employers, consistent with HIPAA requirements. However, even with a HIPAA compliant authorization, providers may be reluctant to share sufficient information with an employer.
Key issues are the concepts of "intermittent leave" and "serious health condition" under the FMLA. Under the rules, employees may seek occasional medical leave under the FMLA for their own "serious health conditions."
One problem, however, is that there is no bright line between an FMLA serious health condition and a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act or a covered situation under Workers Compensation laws. And it is far from clear how substance abuse laws fit into the category of "serious health conditions."
That means healthcare providers will be confronted with a confusing set of requests for information under the FMLA that may also trigger requirements under these other laws.
To help healthcare providers avoid the confusion, Health Information Privacy/Security Alert sponsored a 90-minute audio seminar:
Sharing Health Information Under the New FMLA Rules
Participants are briefed on:
- What healthcare providers should require of employers requesting information to assure compliance with confidentiality laws;
- How healthcare providers can protect themselves from ADA and substance abuse rule violations when sharing information with employers;
- How FMLA requests for information relate to workers compensation law requests and where they may overlap;
- What information providers can share regarding employee relatives;
- And much more.
Who Should Listen
Privacy and Security Officers
Healthcare Providers and Administrators
Labor Relations Professionals
HIPAA Business Associates
Third Party Administrators
EHR & EMR Professionals
State and Federal Government Policymakers
Frank C. Morris, Jr. JD, is a partner with the law firm of Epstein Becker & Green in the Litigation practice where he heads the Labor and Employment Practice in the Washington, DC office. He is also the co-chair of the firm’s Disability Law Group. In his career, he served with the National Labor Relations Board in the Division of Enforcement Litigation. He co-chairs the annual ALI-ABA course, "Current Developments in Employment Law," where he presents ADA and FMLA updates and analyses. Mr. Morris has been an adjunct professor of law since 1984 at George Washington University Law School where he teaches Discrimination Law and Claims and Litigation.
Patricia M. Wagner, JD, is an attorney with Epstein Becker & Green’s Health Care and Life Science practice, where her practice focuses n HIPAA and a variety of other federal and state regulatory issues. Ms. Wagner also received her doctorate in microbiology and has worked for a number of research institutions, including the CDC.
Moderator: Dennis Melamed, editor and publisher of Health Information Privacy/Security Alert.
Continuing Education Credits
- All seminar participants will receive a certificate of participation
- 1.5 IAPP Credits - Pending
The CD recording with all course materials are excellent educational and briefing resources: $275
Download the form at http://www.melamedia.com/12_18_order.form.pdf and fax it to 703.619.4912