A new CVS wellness program raises privacy concerns

From the Thomson Reuters News & Insight article by Anna Louie Sussman, “A new CVS wellness program raises privacy concerns

(Reuters) – When nationwide pharmacy chain CVS Caremark Corp announced last week that its employees must submit to a medical exam or pay a $600 annual fine, some critics raised privacy concerns…

Under the CVS exam, which is free, tests will measure an employee’s weight, body fat, blood pressure, glucose levels and other health indicators. Workers who smoke must enroll in an addiction program by next year.

“They draw blood, that’s data collection. You have to go through a screening, that’s data collection. You have to call WebMD’s center, that’s data collection. People’s sensitive health data is being used for commercial purposes,” said Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of the advocacy organization Patient Privacy Rights.

Dr. Peel on America Weekend with Paul Harris

PPR Founder and Chair, Dr. Deborah Peel, was featured on yet another radio station discussing the CVS Caremark wellness program which violates their employees right to privacy.

To listen to the full podcast, visit Paul Harris Online.

You can view more about the CVS program here.

HIStalk News 3/22/13 – Quotes Dr. Deborah Peel on new CVS policy

To view the full article, please visit HIStalk News 3/22/13.

Key quote from the article:

“Patient Privacy Rights Founder Deborah Peel, MD calls a new CVS employee policy that charges employees who decline obesity checks $50 per month “incredibly coercive and invasive.” CVS covers the cost of an assessment of height, weight, body fat, blood pressure, and serum glucose and lipid levels, but also reserves the right to send the results to a health management firm even though CVS management won’t have access to the results directly. Peel says a lack of chain of custody requirements means that CVS could review the information and use it to make personnel decisions.”

Dr. Peel on the Willis Report

Dr. Peel appeared on the Willis Report with Tracy Byrnes on March 21, 2013. Once again, she was discussing some of the major privacy concerns associated with CVS’s new health care coverage plan and Wellness Programs in general.

Watch the interview below. If you’re unable to view it here, you can visit the Willis Report on FoxBusiness.com for the story.


Dr. Peel on Nightly Business Report

On Thursday’s episode of Nightly Business Report, Hampton Pearson reported on the CVS policy that penalizes employees who refuse to undergo yearly health screenings and submit their personal information to their insurer. Following the story, Dr. Peel and fellow guest, Tracy Burns, joined Tyler Mathisen and Susie Gharib to discuss the new policy.

Watch the video below, starting at the 13:56 min. mark (uses iFrame). If you’re unable to view it below, you can watch the segment here on YouTube.

Dr. Peel Talks with Gil Gross on NewsTalk 910

On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Dr. Peel spoke with Gil Gross about the some of the implications of CVS’s new health plan and some of the concerns patients have about employers potentially having access to their private health information.

Listen to the full interview below (uses iFrame), or visit newstalk910.com if you have any trouble accessing it here.

Dr. Peel on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer

Dr. Peel’s interview for Steve Osunsami’s report on the CVS policy requiring employees to report personal health information or pay $50 more per month for coverage was shown during ABC World News with Diane Sawyer on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.

Watch the video below (uses iFrame). If you can’t see it below, you can check it out on ABCNews.com.

Dr. Peel on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

Dr. Peel comments on the potentially “destructive” nature of CVS’s new policy in Stephanie Gosk’s report for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.

See the report below (video uses Flash). If you are unable to watch it here, you can see it on NBCNews.com.

Dr. Peel on American Public Media’s Marketplace

Dr. Peel questions CVS’s new health coverage policy that penalizes employees who would rather keep personal health information, such as their weight and blood glucose levels, private. In Mark Garrison’s report for Marketplace on March 20, 2013, Dr. Peel asks, “How many people can afford to have $600 deducted from their paycheck every year?”

Listen to the story below (uses iFrame). If you’re unable to listen here, you can visit Marketplace.org for the story.

CVS imposes health penalty if workers’ body weight is not reported or they don’t quit smoking

To view the full article, please visit CVS imposes health penalty if workers’ body weight is not reported or they don’t quit smoking.

CVS has instated a very invasive new policy of charging workers a hefty $600 dollar a year fine if they do not disclose sensitive health information to the company’s benefits firm. According to the article, “Under the new policy, nearly 200,000 CVS employees who obtain health insurance through the company will have to report their weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol to WebMD Health Services Group, which provides benefits support to CVS.” However, if employees refuse, they will be charged an extra $50 a month in health insurance costs.

Patient Privacy Rights’ Dr. Deborah Peel tells the public, “‘This is an incredibly coercive and invasive thing to ask employees to do,’…’Rising healthcare costs are killing the economy, and businesses are terrified, Now, we’re all in this terrible situation where employers are desperate to get rid of workers who have costly health conditions, like obesity and diabetes.’”

To learn more about this issue, please visit our Health Privacy Summit Website and register for the 3rd International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy.