World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Palestinian Workers Right: Medical Confidentiality

Migrant Workers’ Right to Medical Confidentiality

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel receives dozens of complaints each year from migrant workers whose right to medical confidentiality has been violated by their health insurance companies. This widespread occurrence in which the person’s medical information being given to the employer or manpower company directly by the insurance company, in a manner which endangers his job and thus his ability to receive healthcare.

The insurance companies claim that the employer is the quickest and most efficient pipeline to transfer information- usually only in Hebrew- to the employee. One of the largest insurance companies even told PHR-Israel that the employer, as the owner of the policy, has the right to full disclosure regarding the employee’s status, or at least regarding the examinations and treatments he undergoes.

In addition to the violation of the migrant workers’ right to medical confidentiality, a concern arises that the employer will fire the employee, based on the information, and replace him with another. In the last several years Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has encountered quite a few cases like this- in some of these cases the insurance companies, who have an economic interest in stopping the policy (which occurs once the employee is fired) instead of paying for expensive services, actually encouraged the employers to act in this manner.

Transferring the information to the employer instead of to the insured person leads to the latter not being aware of his medical condition, and is unaware of his right, and thus is not capable of realizing them.

In the event that the insurance companies refuse, for any reason, to cover the costs of any treatment, the company must allow the insured person to appeal the decision and supply him with information regarding the appeals process, including the ability to turn to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel for assistance. By transferring the information to the employer, the employee is deprived of this option. These rights are based on the Israeli Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom, Patient’s Rights Act and rules of medical ethics, amongst others.

On 22 February 2006, Adv. Dori Spivac from the Human Rights Program at Tel Aviv University, on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, demanding that the Supervisor of Insurance (appointed by the Finance Ministry) clarify to the insurance companies that as a rule they cannot pass on medical information to the employers. The supervisor’s office said that the complaint will be immediately investigated and in the event that the companies do not observe the insured’s right to medical confidentiality it will directly release proper regulations on the matter.

Additionally, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel demands that the occupational physician:

1) Be aware of the role he plays (judging work capability, investigator, et al) and to guarantee that the patient also be aware of this.

2) Guarantee that waiving the right to medical confidentiality is done out of free will and not due to the employer’s pressure.

3) Clarify to the employee that he can receive additional opinions from other sources to protect his rights.

4) Will limit the transfer of medical information, and only with the knowledge and approval of the patients, to information relevant to the employer, meaning, the employee’s ability to perform his work. There is no justification to reveal any additional information to the employer.

The fact the doctor is not in a healing role does not release him from his ethical responsibilities.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news