GINA Update: Final Rules Implemented

01/25/2011

This month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) final rules implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) went into effect. Much of what was included was similar to the proposed regulations that were under review since 2009. During that time, Concentra took proactive steps to adapt our processes, removing questions about genetic information (including family medical history) from our pre-employment forms and health risk assessments.

The final regulations provide a safe harbor for employers receiving medical information.If employers specifically state they do not wish to receive genetic information from providers when requesting medical records, then any information inadvertently received will not be held against the employer. Please note that employers must still treat such information confidentially and secure the information in separate files, much the way FMLA and ADA information is currently handled.

Certain circumstances receive special consideration under GINA, such as surveillance exams and wellness programs. For OSHA surveillance, GINA provides exceptions for compliance with OSHA, the Mine Safety Act, and other state and federal workplace health and safety laws. Thus, surveillance is generally exempted from GINA if required by OSHA.

Voluntary monitoring requires certain agreements by employees. Wellness programs require genetic information questions to be removed, if there are incentives provided, or to be clearly marked as optional questions. Wellness programs performed with Concentra do not include genetic information questions. Concentra is not responsible for the information on forms that employers send with the individuals. Employers should consult their legal advisors on the specific actions they should take for their programs and forms.

If you have any questions, please contact our Privacy and Security Officer by selecting the ‘HIPAA/Privacy’ dropdown item in the Reason for Contact field of Contact Us.

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