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Wellness Programs Get Thrown a Left Hook From GINA – No Family Medical History Allowed on a Health Risk Assessment

Posted Oct 22 2009 10:02pm

As I can interpret here, it appears that GINA will not allow any family history information to be collected by a Wellness Program, incentive or no incentive as it violates the provision of the law.  Also as it explains below, the use of a Health Risk Assessment cannot be used if family medical information is included.  This is getting more interesting by the moment.  I still say we need algorithmic centric laws or this is going to be the country’s pastime, interpreting laws 24/7. 

HHS Attempts to clarify GINA Laws

Here’s just one more example why today’s business models of using complicated algorithms to calculate risk on humans, and all of us by nature are not 100% predictable, but this is what the business models are trying to achieve, futile point.  Certainly there’s a bit that is predictable and lots of room for improvement, but are we not getting tired of these algorithms that make decisions that result in one more denial of service and an OMG story for the press? 

I guess some folks haven’t figured out yet how tight genomics, technology and healthcare have become and keep trying to treat each as a separate faction.  I would have to say those ideas too mainly come from those who are not participants and lack much hands on skills with working with any type of healthcare technology, even that of such designated for consumers, like PHRs, that they all say are good for us.  I agree they are good for us, but where’s the role models?   Are we ever going to see any of them stick their toe in the water or are we going to have to live with “Magpie Healthcare”? 

It appears now that including family history on a Health Risk Assessment is out the window, so stay tuned, or there could be new forms coming soon.  I really don’t know how much more they can literally botch up healthcare with all the underlying risk management algorithms, and in the meantime people are going without care.  Just this week a bad algorithm denied coverage to a 2 year old because she didn’t meet the parameters set by the algorithms, and does a human make an adjustment, no.  We have to play out the whole news story once again before it gets changed, so you can see how strong those algos are when they are on the screen, change them without an act of God and the employee may lose their job.

How much are the members in Congress participating in their own healthcare?   Would any of them entertain a device using an accelerometer to help them?  Do they know what an accelerometer is?   These are just some passing questions I thought about today.  Anyway, if you are asked to fill out a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) you might want to ask or check to see if there have been any updates made to what is and what is not allowed.  BD 

An organization of industry stakeholders that carry out and support chronic disease prevention and care is calling for a moratorium on new federal regulations to protect genetic information.
The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury in early October issued the interim final rule to implement provisions of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

"Further, the interim final regulations state that a wellness program that provides rewards for completing an HRA that requests family medical history would violate the prohibition against requesting genetic information for underwriting purposes, even if the rewards or incentives are not based on the outcome of the assessment. The interim final regulations provide no exception to this rule, regardless of the amount of the reward or incentive or whether the HRA meets the HIPAA wellness plan requirements.

"Finally, and most troubling, the interim final regulations prohibit the use of an HRA to determine whether a participant is eligible for a disease management program if the HRA elicits family medical information. This prohibition holds even if the HRA does not otherwise contain a financial reward or incentive."

Groups: Genetic Data Rule Flawed

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