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Laws underscore need to protect privacy
The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc. (AAOHN) and the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) have 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 at both the state and national level in recent months.
"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," says 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."
The position paper outlines specific steps that OHNs and NCMs can take to ensure confidential handling of personal health information, including:
"This groundbreaking 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," notes CMSA executive director Jeanne Boling.