Thursday, July 10, 2014

Senate Bill 526 overwhelmingly passed the Missouri Senate on February 13, (26-7).  Not exactly a predictable outcome based on what we know about Missouri.

The bill calls for the development of a database of work comp claims that could be accessed by employers when hiring job candidates.  It will next be considered by the state House, and if passed the database would be implemented on July 1, 2015.

Creating a database of work comp claims could potentially allow employers to assess in a pre-employment screening process whether their prospective employee has submitted work comp claims.  It’s not the same as asking your age or your marital status that could potentially be used to discriminate, but that past history could certainly influence an employer’s willingness to hire you.  I’m all for transparency in the hiring process so you can make a well-informed decision on a very expensive process.  

Here's the odd part: if Missouri is willing to create this database, why are they unwilling to create a PDMP (prescription drug monitoring program) that could yield very important information about an individual’s entire drug regimen that has potential life and death consequences?  The primary obstacle to the PDMP in Missouri has been state senator Rob Shaaf, who has argued that "letting the government have your very personal and sensitive medical information on a government database, it's just wrong and Big Brother shouldn't have that effect on our lives."  He voted in favor of SB 526, perhaps because the bill includes a provision that requires employee consent for an employer to search the database.  Nonetheless, the database will be contain sensitive information on Missouri citizens, will be run by the government, and will have a much wider potential audience (all employers) than a PDMP (clinicians and law enforcement). 

Still waiting

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