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“WHEN PATIENTS APPLY FOR JOBS AND VIOLATING THE ADA”

Many health care and dental organizations actually treat their employees. Often former patients also apply for work.
The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against Aurora Health Care, Inc. accusing the hospital system of rescinding two job offers because of information obtained from the applicants’ medical records when each had been a patient.
The hospital offered the first applicant a job as Registered Nurse Care Coordinator, contingent upon a medical examination. During the medical examination, the applicant was asked about a prescription that she had failed to disclose but which appeared in her medical records from when she was a patient at one of the system’s facilities.  She explained that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, been prescribed the medication to treat that condition, but was not currently taking the prescription or suffering MS symptoms. The healthcare system then rescinded the job offer.
Aurora contended that the second candidate failed to disclose her surgery for carpal tunnel disorder, yet the hospital reviewed her medical treatment records and discovered the condition.  
The ADA allows employers to condition job offers on post-offer medical examinations. However,  the EEOC claims that the healthcare system’s practice of checking its patient records in connection with post-offer medical examinations, which it called a Medication Reconciliation Policy, violated the ADA.
The EEOC contends that Aurora found out these two applicants had health conditions and then claimed the two failed to disclose their conditions to justify Aurora’s underlying disability discrimination.
Of course, the EEOC may lose its lawsuit. Also, an employer should consider whether it needs the information obtained from patient treatment records in a post-offer medical examination.
But if your healthcare or dental facility accesses patient records as part of a post-offer medical exam, some additional thought needs to be given as to how to accomplish this legitimate, important “Medical Reconciliation”  within the bounds of the ADA.