LITTLE ROCK — The Case Management Society of America (CMSA) and the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (AAOHN), today released a joint position statement providing further guidance to nurse case managers (NCMs) and occupational and environmental health nurses (OHNs) in protecting employees’/clients’ privacy rights. The associations partnered to develop the position statement in response to the increasing complexity and host of privacy laws and regulations that have taken effect in recent months at both the state and national level.
"This ground breaking joint organizational effort will proactively address the multiple confidentiality, privacy, legal and ethical issues impacting case managers and occupational and environmental health nurses in all practice settings." said CMSA Executive Director Jeanne Boling. "Consumer protection and advocacy are critical to the roles of these professionals."
The position paper outlines specific steps that OHNs and NCMs can take to ensure confidential handling of personal health information, including:
- Developing written policies and procedures regulating access, release, transmittal and storage of all health information.
- Implementing educational activities to inform employees, health care providers and other appropriate individuals of their need to maintain confidentiality of employee health records.
- Obtaining legal guidance as necessary to aid in the interpretation of unclear practice situations.
- Establishing and maintaining security standards for transmission and storage of employee personal health information.
- Knowing state and local laws and company/facility policies as relevant to privacy and security of personal health information.
"Protecting the privacy and confidentiality of employee personal health information is one of the ethical and professional tenets of the practice of occupational and environmental health nursing," said AAOHN President Susan A. Randolph. "In addition, both consumers and health care professionals have expressed concern about how privacy will be impacted by new laws such as the Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Compliance with laws and regulations continues to be a major challenge to members of both associations. It is through this strategic alliance with CMSA that we leveraged our resources and expertise to best serve workers, workplaces and communities."
For a complete copy of the AAOHN/CMSA comments, visit the AAOHN Web site at www.aaohn.org, or the CMSA Web site at www.cmsa.org.
Click here to view CMSA's copy of the Position Statement on Privacy.