LIVINGSTON — A Livingston Parish School Board committee, prompted by privacy concerns raised by teachers’ unions, unanimously approved changes Thursday night in the way certain medical questionnaires are collected by the school district.
The “LA OWCA Second Injury Board Knowledge Questionnaire” was being given to all employees until August, when the Louisiana Association of Educators sent a letter to Superintendent Bill Spear.
As a result, the board voted Sept. 1 to suspend collection of the forms pending review by its Curriculum/Policy Committee.
The form included a statement that gave employees’ supervisors, including principals, authority to review the information provided by employees on the questionnaires.
“School principals are not bound by the (Hippocratic) oath,” that spells out the medical profession’s ethical code, Mona Icamena, a representative of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, told the board in September.
“Therefore, they should not have access to this kind of confidential information,” Icamena added.
Under the policy approved Thursday, the forms would be filled out only by newly hired employees and sent in sealed envelopes to the central office, where the documents would be kept sealed.
In the event an employee makes a worker’s compensation claim, the envelope would be unsealed and the form inside examined, Spear said.
Forms that already have been received — more than 3,500 of the system’s 3,539 employees already turned in the documents — would be kept and employees who don’t want to fill out a form would have to sign a waiver of rights to future worker’s compensation benefits.
The board pays into a fund known as the Second Injury Fund as part of the Louisiana Workers Compensation program, Spear said in September.
In order to collect money from the fund, employers must be able to prove they knew about an employee’s pre-existing condition before the worker’s compensation claim was made, Spear said.
The policy will go before the full board for final approval Nov. 10.