Saturday, July 14, 2012

Right to Privacy - Social Networks

Prospective employers would be prohibited from asking job applicants to provide access information (e.g., user name, password) for social media outlets such as Facebook if legislation pending in the Illinois General Assembly becomes law. Maryland has already enacted a law which prohibits that practice, and bills now pending in Springfield would amend the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to ban requests for access information to social media. (HB3782, HB 5713).

Disclosure of Mental Health Records 

Some mental health records may now be disclosed without the consent of the patient. Those authorized to disclose without consent are county jails, insurance companies, integrated health systems, State agencies (including the Department of Corrections and the Department of Children and Family Services, to name two). Those authorized to receive the disclosures are hospitals, physicians, therapists, emergency medical personnel (and the members of an “interdisciplinary team“ treating a patient.

Those whose records may be disclosed without consent -- in common parlance: patients -- are “recipients in a program administered or operated by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services or the Department of Human Services.

The records that may be disclosed (and disclosed solely for purposes of treatment and coordination of care) are: services rendered, providers rendering the services, pharmaceuticals prescribed or dispensed, and diagnoses.

All this appears in a new section (section 9.4) added in August of 2011 to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act. (See PublicAct 097-0515)

Tobacco Use Cessation Programs
Insurance coverage for “quit smoking” programs is now mandatory in Illinois by virtue of an amendment to the Illinois Insurance Code that went into effect earlier this year. That is, insurers who provide group accident and health insurance plans must now offer (for additional premium) coverage for the expense of participating in a “tobacco use cessation program.”

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Illinois, costing $4.1 billion annually in direct health care costs and another $4.35 billion in lost productivity. (See Public Act 097-0592)

Serving Our Seniors: Living Wills
Narrated by Bill Kurtis


The hiring phase is complicated. Here are some of the basics of what may and may not be asked about and required during the hiring process.
Race, Sex, Age, Disability

Inquiries about race, gender, birthplace, religion, marital status and disability are prohibited with these exceptions. It is all right to identify the essential functions of the job and ask how the applicant would perform them, and also to ask whether the spouse of the applicant is an employee of the employer.

It is permissible to ask for the full name of the applicant and whether he or she has ever worked for the company under a different name, but impermssible to ask for a maiden name.

The applicant may be asked how long he or she has lived in the state or the city but not whether he/she owns or rents. The only question that can be asked about age is whether the applicant is at least 18 years old, and then only to determine whether the applicant is of legal age for employment.