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Legal? new employer wants list of all meds taken and medical records

Posted

I'm a new RN and curious if it is legal for an employer to ask what medications you have taken with in the last 2 months (or more) and get my medical records. I'm not sure if this is only legit in nursing, because I've never run across this before in other non-RN jobs.

I gave them the list of all the meds I was on because I assumed they would need it for the drug test. Now it's coming back to bite me as I was on anti-anxiety/depression med. Tried to explain that I get nervous as a new grad. Now they keep harassing my dr to write a very detailed account of my diagnosis with narrative, etc. This doesn't sound legal to me, but I'm not sure.

Thanks!

Edited by babblingbrook
more info to add to provide clarification

nuangel1, BSN, RN

Specializes in CT ,ICU,CCU,Tele,ED,Hospice. Has 30 years experience.

i wouldn't think this is legal.but either way i would refuse its not any of their business.

I would go elsewhere for employment. You take a drug screen and list the meds you are on at that time in case there is a positive screen. Your medical records are privileged information covered under privacy laws. You undergo an employment physical given by your own physician or their occupational health physician and a report of such exam is made. Nowhere in this process does the employer get access to your medical records. Tell them no. No.

TiffyRN, ADN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in NICU. Has 27 years experience.

I've had employers ask that to disclose all medications you feel may show up on drug screening. Essentially, if you list a medication for something like vicoden and you test positive for that substance, and you can provide a valid prescription for it, then it's probably not a problem. If you do the drug screening and something you haven't listed shows up, then that's likely the end of your interview process. Even if you do have a valid prescription they consider you've been less than completely honest and are not likely to hire you.

I've never heard of an employer requiring complete medical records. They may require you disclose conditions that would affect your ability to perform one's job description or require you to pass a physical.

I'm kind of in a bind since I dont' have 12 months of experience as a RN. Around my area there are no jobs unless you have the exp and the employer was the only one in 3 months to offer me a job. But my gut is telling me if they are this bad now what will it be like to work for them. My dr also told me it's none of their business what meds I'm on. Just call me naive, I guess. I thought maybe nursing employers had a right to know more info on you because you are dealing with their patients.

Thanks for the advice.

They may be the only employer within a 500 mile radius but that does not give them the right to have access to your medical records. Your medical suitability for the job is determined by the pre-employment physical exam and that does not consist of you handing over your records. Your doctor is right. I'm surprised he didn't use a profane adjective.

He's too nice of a guy I guess. He worked his residency for this employer so he didn't speak highly of them. Glad I found out now rather than later.

Baloney Amputation, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Acute Care.

What on earth is their reason for needing all this information?

I'd probably stay away from being a patient there, if this is a facility in which you would anticipate receiving treatment. They apparently have no boundaries.

P_RN, ADN, RN

Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.

The is a whole new world to those of us who were hired on our word only. WHere does it end Soy your had 11 physicians who all wrote 11 Rx you had willed twice over an 5 years interval. Some were off patent uses. hmmmmmm.

I think I'd look around for a les mein kampf policy.

wonderbee, BSN, RN

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

The message from this employer is "I intend to violate your boundaries anytime, anywhere if it suits me.

Personally, I'd rather work in a book store.

tewdles, RN

Specializes in PICU, NICU, L&D, Public Health, Hospice. Has 31 years experience.

Just out of curiousity...where are you located? (what state)

itsmejuli

Specializes in Home Care.

If you were going through underwriting for a medical insurance policy then the insurer can request medication information and medical history information. But a letter from a Dr about your condition is still questionable. Its not like you have a heart condition for example.

But for an employer to request this type of info I find odd and possibly discriminatory.

I'd contact the EEOC to find out if this is legal.

http://www.eeoc.gov/index.cfm

tewdles, RN

Specializes in PICU, NICU, L&D, Public Health, Hospice. Has 31 years experience.

wondering if OP resides and works in RTW state?

PostOpPrincess, BSN, RN

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU. Has 19 years experience.

If that is their written policy, then I don't see how you have a say. You're the one that ones to work there.

But if you didn't take these meds without an M.D. order, you should be fine...

The only issue would be if you were using someone else's stuff....

XingtheBBB, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR, peds, PALS, ICU, camp, school. Has 20 years experience.

Out of curiosity... where does your doctor send his patients for hospital services? Is he stuck with that same hospital?

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 40 years experience.

If that is their written policy, then I don't see how you have a say. You're the one that ones to work there.

But if you didn't take these meds without an M.D. order, you should be fine...

The only issue would be if you were using someone else's stuff....

But they're not just asking her to disclose any medications she is on ... they want her whole medical record. And it's the employer demanding this, not the insurers. Would you disclose your entire medical history to an employer?

I do believe it's a major violation of HIPAA and possibly the ADA.

Sounds like these nazis are taking advantage of the tight job market to go on a data-fishing expedition. What their motives might be is anybody's guess. Data is worth money in these times. They could also be using it to screen out "undesirables" they might not otherwise legally exclude.

Your options are: comply with this and get a job which makes you actually dependent on these people for your income ... decline to comply and tell them why (and give them your attorney's phone number for any other contact) ... or just decline to comply without telling them anything.

If you choose to comply and get hired, please do some research on federal and state labor and antidiscrimination laws. And keep a diary (at home) of management's behavior. I have a suspicion you're going to need it.

I wouldn't touch an employer with this policy with a ten-foot pole, regardless of how tight the job market is in the area (I'd relocate :)). If they are this intrusive and "out of bounds" on hiring policy, it's safe to assume they will be even worse once you're working for them.

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 40 years experience.

With all due respect to other posters, I think we have to be realistic about how free the OP might be to turn down any job. Health care providers are not the only employers with a hiring freeze.

We spend a lot of time on this site excoriating public assistance recipients ... the mantra is "get a job, any job ..." While the OP isn't on public assistance as far as we know, her choices for "any job" might be severely limited and she may not have the luxury of staying unemployed indefinitely.

Without a binding contract, the only legal constraints on an employer are federal/state law and their own company handbook. JoPACURN is right: their house, their rules.

In this case, however, I think they are violating the law.