26.11.2015

Kaiser pregnancy questions

It’s a topic employers generally avoid, since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibited sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.
Pregnancy questions included in many wellness programs hit a nerve, drawing not only the law center’s response, but also similar comments from more than 2,400 of its supporters, submitted in a single package to the EEOC. Many cite fears that wellness program information about pregnancy status will get back to employers – although several laws and rules sharply limit what employers can glean. The EEOC’s proposed rules define what those programs must do to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a law aimed at preventing discrimination. The ADA generally prohibits employers from asking health- or disability-related questions, except in limited circumstances, such as through voluntary workplace wellness programs. The EEOC proposed rule does not bar questions about pregnancy, although the commission warns employers that wellness programs must be voluntary, “reasonably designed” to improve health and not a “subterfuge for violating the ADA or other laws prohibiting employment discrimination.” No timetable has been set for finalizing the regulation. Employers and the wellness vendors they hire to run them say this personal information is rarely – if ever – shared with the employer, adding that participation is voluntary and answers to questions are used to help tailor the programs, both for the individual and the corporate group as a whole. Still, critics fear that even aggregated data highlighting pregnancy status could be used to identify specific workers, especially if it were given to a small company or if there were only a few women participating in the wellness program.
Questions about pregnancy are not allowed in other employment contexts, such as hiring, said Carol Merchasin, a former employment lawyer who runs her own consulting and training firm outside of Boston. Including them in workplace wellness questionnaires blurs the line – and harkens back to an earlier era before the 1978 law added pregnancy to a list of protected classes covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, she said.


Representatives from wellness firms Humana Vitality, LiveHealthier and Bravo Wellness all confirmed that their assessments include such questions. At Vitality,  spokesman Jeff Blunt said finding out if a participant is pregnant helps assure that any health goals the program helps set for the worker are appropriate for someone who is expecting and allows them to suggest participating in the HumanaBeginnings maternity program. Despite the vendors’ focus on developing tailored plans, pregnancy questions – perhaps unlike inquiries about blood pressure or cholesterol  – are a particularly touchy subject.
Some women keep their pregnancy status private for as long as possible, fearing they could be fired or will lose out on a promotion or raise, advocates say. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prevents employers from firing or taking disciplinary action against a woman because she is pregnant, that hasn’t ended such discrimination, said Palanker at the women’s law center. Last year, the EEOC, which oversees most pregnancy discrimination charges, handled 3,400 cases, finding no cause in 60 percent of the cases, but moving forward on many of the others. Fifteen years ago, Kimberly Lira Huddleston was one of hundreds of young mothers who volunteered for a study testing an experimental new birth control implant that promised lifelong protection from pregnancy.
On Thursday, a FDA advisory committee will hold a public hearing in Silver Spring, Md., to address questions about the safety and effectiveness of Essure, which was approved in 2002.
Users have filed 5,093 complaints with the FDA citing chronic pelvic pain, debilitating periods, pregnancies that occurred with Essure including five that ended in fetal death, hysterectomies to remove devices that moved to other organs or broke apart, and four patient deaths, including one by suicide.


Representatives from wellness firms Humana Vitality, LiveHealthier and Bravo Health all confirmed that their assessments include such questions.
Julie Appleby reports on the implementation of the health care overhaul law, the interplay of health care treatments and costs, trends in health insurance, and policy issues affecting hospitals and other medical providers, for Kaiser Health News. One Zensey form, prepared for client Cigna, asks about current pregnancy status and the age when a woman first got pregnant. In an affidavit to the Food and Drug Administration, Hudak alleges that answers she gave researchers in response to questions about pain, adverse health effects and even whether her period was late had been altered on her medical record, without her knowledge. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit national health policy news service, and a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. EDT August 5, 2015Pregnancy is a topic employers generally avoid, since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibited sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.
She said she was surprised, however, to find in her records that the answers she gave in response to questions about pain, adverse health effects and even whether her period was late had been altered, with no changed to yes and vice versa.



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Comments to «Kaiser pregnancy questions»

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