Education department access to employee health

Nurses General Nursing

Published

Working as a traveler in Utah and came across something that increasingly bothers me the more I think about it. 

Had a situation come up where employee health contacted me and notified me they were missing some documentation for vaccination. Not a problem as I had the documents on hand and sent them over immediately. About 20 minutes later I get an email from the nursing education department at the same hospital for the same documents. I didn't really think anything about it at first but the more I reflect on it I think it's kind of strange that nursing education has access to my employee health record. I've been working as a nurse for 20+ years and I've never been contacted by someone in a nursing education department at any facility about anything in my health record that I was under the impression was confidential on a need-to-know basis.  I'm just curious if anyone can provide insight as to the legality of nurse educators having access to PHI in an employee health record. 

Specializes in Critical Care, Capacity/Bed Management.

I had a very similar incident occur almost 10 years ago when I worked in an emergency department. 

I had completed my yearly PPD testing at a different employer and provided documentation to employee health. A few weeks later the ED educator comes up to me in the hall and asks me for the PPD paperwork. I informed her that it was provided to employee health and she can contact them to verify my compliance.

She then tells me she needs a copy for her own records scanning it to her computer. I responded by saying I would not be providing her with my PHI so that she may keep it on questionably secured storage media. This led to her raising her voice and accusing me of insubordination.

I reported the situation to human resources, but didn't hear back about the outcome. I do know she never asked me for employee health documentation ever again. 

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis.

The only reason I can think of for a nurse educator to want or even need that information is if that  role does double duty as the employee infection control nurse.  Makes sense if the employee health department you provided the paperwork to is not on campus and there is a separate on campus infection control nurse monitoring if vaccines are current.  Even in that case though you could inform that nurse you already provided that paperwork to employee health and the on campus employee infection control nurse could certainly request a copy from employee health if there is a need to store those documents locally.

Did you let them know that you have already submitted documentation of your compliance to employee heath and inquire about their involvement/interest in the matter?

That would make me curious enough to question releasing this personal health information to two different departments.

I expect they would let you know. 

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

Is it a small facility?  Like kbrn mentioned, I would wonder if someone works a dual role, which is more common with smaller facilities. 

At one facility where I was a director, all managers and directors took a shift as house supervisor one day a week. The house sup shared an office with employee health (a department of one person). That was uncomfortable, being privy to all of those conversations.

+ Add a Comment